Coast Guard to crack down on some illegal boaters

Duluth, Minn. - The U.S.Coast Guard has announced it's stepping up enforcement against boat operators who illegally take passengers for hire.

They'll be conducting operations in both Northern Minnesota and Western Lake Superior waters.

A similar operation last summer in the Chicago vicinity found fifty percent of stopped vessels were operating illegally on Lake Michigan.

Anyone who takes on paying boat passengers is considered to be a commercial vessel, and that means the individual has to have a Coast Guard license.

Any commercial vessel operating without the license is violating federal law and could be subject to criminal or civil penalties.

The Coast Guard also points out that unlicensed operators put passengers and surrounding boats in danger.

They're also advising that prospective passengers to ask if the boat operator is in compliance with Coast Guard regulations, so they know they can expect a safe voyage before handing over their money.

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