Coast Guard, Business Owners Highlight Dangers of Unlicensed Charter Boat Operators

The United States Coast Guard and local charter boat operators are concerned that a growing trend of illegally-run charter boats could pose a danger to Chicago area residents and visitors.

The Coast Guard was joined by those owners in a press conference Wednesday to highlight the dangers, which include carrying too many passengers and failing to follow proper safety regulations.

“What I see is in the future, something is going to happen….there is going to be loss of life,” charter boat operator Al Skalecke said.

Recently a man fell off a charter boat and died in Miami. The captain of the boat did not have a U.S. captain’s license, and officials hope that boat riders in Chicago can avoid a similar fate.

“They should ask to see the captain’s license, and to see the vessel’s certificate of inspection,” USCG Lt. Kate Woods said.

The Coast Guard and boat owners are hoping to see legislative solutions enacted to stem the problem, but until then, they advise travellers to exercise discretion in which companies they choose to do business with.

“These types of vessels are putting passengers at risk,” Woods said. 

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