TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The CEO of a company offering captains for hire says he will reimburse a boat owner who paid $1,000 for a tow last weekend after the driver he hired was arrested for boating under the influence.
Zach Hatraf, CEO of Anchorrides.com, the website advertising the “captains,” told Target 8 that he agreed to reimburse the owner who traveled from Wisconsin to participate in the Gasparilla invasion.
The boat owner, who asked that his name be withheld, thought he hired a licensed captain for $50 dollars an hour for an eight hour shift.
But the captain wasn’t a captain.
“There’s a huge liability, you don’t know who you’re getting,” said Captain Wade Osborne.
Osborne is a Coast Guard licensed Master Captain.
He warns consumers against hiring people who are not Coast Guard licensed.
“If there’s an issue it could be a nightmare,” added Captain Dan Peretz.
Peretz is also a Coast Guard licensed captain. He claims there is a big difference between a licensed captain and someone who drives a boat.
Anchorrides.com promoted Nathan Stasio as Capt. Nathan S. on its web page, knowing he was not a licensed captain.
What the company didn’t know is that Stasio had a DUI arrest in 2015, which according to Hatraf, would have made him ineligible for Anchorrides.com.
Stasio’s agreed upon shift went off without a hitch.
Afterward, the boat’s owner offered him $250 dollars to return the vessel to Clearwater.
On the way, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission Officer stopped Stasio speeding through an idle zone.
He arrested Stasio for boating under the influence and manufacture of cannabis.
The boat owner was contacted and told the vessel would be impounded if it was not towed home. It cost the owner $1,050 for the tow.
He later discovered Stasio’s DUI history and protested to Anchorrides.com.
Hatraf’s background check on Nathan Stasio missed a 2015 DUI arrest.
The Coast Guard background check goes a little deeper.
“They run a thorough background check through Homeland Security now,” explained Capt. Osborne.
“We are able to be called at any time for a random drug test,” added Capt. Peretz.
According to Peretz, Coast Guard licensed captains receive training in CPR, first aid, safety and navigation, to name a few areas. And he says the training is maintained through continuing education.
Hatraf tells us safety is priority number one for Anchorrides.com, but he has yet to fully develop a training program for his captains.
If you know of something that you think should be investigated, call our Target 8 Helpline at 1-800-338-0808. Contact Steve Andrews at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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