Coast Guard cracking down on illegal ferries

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The coast guard is cracking down on enforcement this holiday weekend. Their focus is illegal ferries to and from Masonboro Island, which they say are dangerous If not done correctly.

This year the coast guard says if you’re ferrying people illegally that is without a Capitan’s license they are going to be on the lookout for you.

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The concern is in part about someone ferrying you over and never picking you back up. Which is dangerous because of the current and the amount of partying people have done. You can’t swim back. They say it is not hard to spot.

“They’ll line up on docks on vacant houses here in banks channel. That makes it pretty easy for us,” said Lane Marshburn with the U.S. Coast Guard.

If they catch you, you could be in a lot of trouble. Fines for ferrying passengers without a license can go as high as $27,500 for the worst offenders.



“We just want keep the public safe that’s all we wanna do,” said Marshburn.

They say it’s not worth the money. Local ferry capitan’s say leave it to the professionals.

“Money can be the driver of this but in the past couple years though they’ve really cracked down on that,” said Capitan Joe Abbate with Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours.

He says the legal ferry operators are glad about that.

“That’s why we do want to promote captains who are doing it legal. Making sure their boats are all up to snuff and making sure their licenses are not expired,” he said.

It’s the simple secret to a safer party this 4th of July.