Coast Guard warns folks to watch out for illegal charters

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - The warm summer months are here and plenty of folks want to spend time on the water, but the Coast Guard is out with a warning: Be cautious about illegal and unlicensed charter vessels.

The Coast Guard made the warning over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. They're investigating and issuing violations to vessel owners who are offering charter services without a license in Virginia.

"We want to ensure prospective passengers are putting their trust in properly-credentialed mariners who are capable of transporting them safely, adeptly and in compliance of all federal regulations," Captain Kevin Carroll, commander of Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads, said in a release.

Related: Coast Guard urges you to stay safe while having fun boating this summer

"Be vigilant and inquisitive when hiring a vessel for an underway trip. Before you take an excursion, ask to see the vessel operator's license, and if the vessel is carrying more than six people, ask to see the Coast Guard-issued inspection sticker," Carroll added.

The Coast Guard cautions that unlicensed charters can be dangerous if they do not have the proper emergency safety gear or navigation and communication gear.

You can report any suspicious operations to the Coast Guard at 757-668-5555 or by email D05-SMB-SectorHRCC@uscg.mil.

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