The Coast Guard is warning people who pay to go fishing on the Chesapeake Bay to avoid illegal charter boats.
Coast Guard investigators have seen an increase in reports of vessels illegally charging to carry people over the last two years. They say the practice is most common around Kent and Tilghman islands, Rock Hall, Annapolis and the Potomac River in Charles County.
The Coast Guard urges people to ask the captain to show them a license. A boat carrying more than six passengers must be inspected by the Coast Guard, and a certificate of inspection should be displayed in an area accessible to passengers.
If caught, a charter vessel operator without the required documents could be subject to criminal or civil liability.