15-Apr-18 A four-hour tour on Lake Michigan will cost a Mount Prospect man $14,000 for what the United States Coast Guard says was an illegal charter operation.
Jim Finnegan was slapped with the civil penalty by a Coast Guard hearing officer on March 19. The Coast Guards 9th District Great Lakes announced the penalty on April 6.
The voyage on July 29, 2017, was on a 31-foot cabin cruiser named Irish Wake. Nine of the eleven passengers on board paid Finnegan, making his boat a charter vessel. According to the Coast Guard, however, Finnegan did not have a licensed operator on board, a valid inspection certificate, or a stability letter, and he had not enrolled in a drug testing program.
||Regulations are in place to help ensure the safety of passengers, reminded Zeita Merchant (left), commanding officer of the Coast Guards Marine Safety Unit in Chicago. Illegal passenger vessel operations pose a significant hazard to life, property, and the marine environment.
Last August, the Coast Guard boarded and terminated operations of 22 boats on Lake Michigan and the Illinois River, saying they were illegal vessels for hire.