Water taxis still weeks away from returning

by: Samuel King Updated:

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It may be weeks before water taxis return to the river downtown, so they likely won’t be available until after the Jacksonville Jaguars season begins. 

Representatives from the Coast Guard told Action News they did a walkthrough of the two boats this morning but a lot more has to happen before those boats get on the water.

Both the Sea Charm I and the Native Choice need new certifications before they're allowed to carry passengers. It's like registering a car except it takes much longer.

“Right now we could see them turning around the certificate of documentation in four to six weeks and then we would conduct our inspection one to two days after we've received that document,” said Coast Guard Lt. Cdr. Marc Montemerlo.

Action News followed the weeks-long battle to restore service after the former operator left town. In the end, Beaver Street Fisheries owner Harry Fritsch agreed to buy the boats and lease them back to the city. 

But officials still need to hire an operator for the boats before the Coast Guard can even finish the process.

“Things such as firefighting, lifesaving, crew documentation so that they can operate the vessel safely and ensure that the passengers on board are in good hands.
An agreement is in place, but a contract has not been signed.