Thursday, June 29, 2006
That's Just Wrong: Captains
For two South Florida boat captains, the math is easy. If they can't do their job, they can't make enough money. But when they found out the coast guard lost their license application, they said That's Just Wrong.
WSVN--You could say Mark Woods and Shane Labeet have a sinking feeling when it comes to dealing with the coast guard.
Both men work at subtropic dive center in key west.
And both men have been waiting for months for their master captain's license.
Mark Woods: "My license is expired. I can't drive a boat anymore. Head Captain and I can't drive."
Shane Labeet: "I can't drive the larger boats unless I have my masters."
The masters license lets mark and shane operate a boat the carries passengers.
Mark was actually renewing his permit.
He sent in his application late last year - eight months before his license expired.
Mark Woods: "A month later, they came back and said well, we need more documentation. I send them more documentation. Well, they've lost that. They don't know where that's at. Original copies of your birth certificate. They don't know where that's at."
Shane was getting his license for the first time.
But the coast guard lost his application twice even though he handed in the paperwork in person.
Shane Labeet: "I reapplied for my masters again. I went up there in person. Hand delivered it. Went through my paperwork with the ladies at the desk."
Mark and Shane say they're tired of feeling as if their careers are being anchored.
Mark Woods: "Asked to speak to a supervisor. They wouldn't let me talk to anybody. Put me on hold. Dropped me like four times."
Now they tell us - That's Just Wrong.
Shane Labeet: "It's dipping into my funds. The funds I would be making at present. So I am at a loss of wages right now."
Mark Woods: "If you can't drive you can't work. And, it's pretty expensive to live down here."
When Mark and Shane called 7 News, we found the license for captains are processed here by the Miami Coast Guard.
But since September 11th, it takes an extensive amount of time to conduct a background check.
Constance Russel: "We have about 14-hundred files in our office right now to be reviewed. In the best case scenario our turnaround is about 60-days."
The coast guard did however agree to review Mark and Shane's files.
It says part of the problem was the paperwork was not in order.
Constance Russel: "It was one of the situations where it was an incomplete application. We had to go back to the Mariner and get additional information."
Well now that information has been obtained and both captains have received their licenses.
Today, Mark and Shane say it's smooth sailing ahead but they wish the coast guard could do more to make the process easier.
Mark Woods: "There's a long line of people waiting for paperwork in Florida."
PLEASE SEND STORY IDEAS TO: