Officers from a Coast Guard Station Miami vessel terminated the charter trip of M/Y Golden Touch II, a 147-foot Sensation, on Aug. 19 near Nixon Beach at Key Biscayne, Miami, for violation of several safety issues. A boarding by officers found the yacht carried more paying passengers than the vessel is certified to have, a total of 47 people on board.
Other violations include the lack of a valid certificate of inspection, failure to have a drug and alcohol program, and the lack of a valid stability letter.
“Tragically, people have lost their lives on illegal charters, as was seen in the case of the vessel Jaguar in the Tampa Bay area and in the case of the Miami Vice yacht in Miami,” said Capt. Ladonn Allen, chief of Coast Guard 7th District prevention department. “The unsafe atmospheres that these types of companies and unlicensed captains, who knowingly engage in illegal activity, create on their boats show a complete disregard for passenger safety and have been responsible for multiple deaths in Florida alone. We cannot stress enough to anyone looking to charter a boat to verify the captain’s license and safety of the vessel.”
The owner and operator of M/Y Golden Touch II faces maximum civil penalties up to $41,456 for the violations.
The previous illegal charter yacht incidents referenced by Officer Allen were the deaths of a passenger and a charter boat crew member who died in the water near M/Y Jaguar, a 71-foot yacht, in Tampa in 2017 and another charter passenger who died when the operator of M/Y Miami Vice, a 91-foot yacht, in Miami in April.
The charter of Blessed, a 48-foot pleasure craft, was also stopped for safety issues and carrying too many passengers while for hire on the Miami River on Aug. 10.