First, if you are a Charter Boat operation or Captain, and you have all of the legally required items listed, you, like me are more than happy to let it be known. If you are lacking and simply not aware of some requirements, then hopefully this helps. If like a few who have objected to these rules being posted (because they choose not to follow them), its these operaters that the rules are being posted, so as to protect potential clients.

With so many people offering Fishing Charters in Florida, it would be good to know which ones are Legal, and which are not. As an owner and operator of an offshore Charter Fishing business, ACME Ventures llc, running the Wile E. Coyote, I know just how much it cost to be legal, and sadly many operators choose to make themselves some extra money by side-stepping many requirements. If they are willing to do this what else will they short-cut, that may affect your safety. Below is a list of some of the requirements to run a legal Charter Fishing business. This will reflect primarily the "6-Pack" or "UPV" Charters that carry up to 6 paying passengers. These may be inshore trips, or offshore, but both have minimun standards to meet.

1)A USCG licensed Captain must be on board, with a current license, and TWIC card. They also must have a current first aid card. They must also be involved in a random drug testing program.
***Without a TWIC card, a Captain is not legal to operate as such***
2)The boat must be commercially registered, and be UPV equipped, with the USCG required gear for a Charter boat. Additional gear is required, such as a 19" minimum life ring, Type 1 PFD's with lights, whitles, reflective tape, and labeled with either the boats name or numbers. The Captain is required to carry nautical information on board for the waters your traveling, including a Coast Pilot, Lights List, and Tide Chart. There are placecards required on the boat also, dealing with trash and oil. And very important is an emergency plan, which is to be in writing. Although Radio's and GPS locators are not required, they are very important. Captains are also required to have up to date First Aid credentials, and be enrolled in a random drug testing program.
3)A FWC fishing license must cover the guest while fishing. This may either be a "boat" or "captain" FWC fishing license. (some try to skirt this rule, by offering their services as a guide, but all other
rules apply, and then it is still a grey area, but everyone must have kicense coverage, of proof of
exemption)
4)If fishing offshore, there are several Federal Permits required to be legal. I have (4) permits, and an operator card, which are all necessary for most any offshore fishing trip. (NOAA permits) NOTE: These federal permits are also required, as are the regulations of fishing for Charter boats operating in state waters (3mi Atlantic / 9mi Gulf) seaward of the demarkation line (Charter, Headboats, and boats for hire). If you offer your services or boat for fishing for profit these are manditory.
5)Certain area's, such as the Canaveral National seashore, require special registration to offer trips into these waters.
6)The appropriate State and County licenses are required to operate as a business.

Before booking a Charter, ask if they meet all of these requirements, and don't be hesitant to ask to see their credentals. I have invested a lot of time and money to have a legal opertion, and don't mind one bit showing it. Those that are not willing to show they are legal are to be avoided. Your putting your lives in their hands, so make sure they have taken all the required steps to run a legitimate and safe business.

The many legal Charter Operations out there will, like me have no issue's with these rules being listed.

Good Fishing....and Catching!
Henry
ACME Ventures llc
www.ACME-Ventures-Fishing.com
407-349-1546 / 321-794-7955

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This is from the FWC site under Fishing Licenses, Charter:

Charter, headboat and guide operations must have this license to cover their passengers, who are not required to hold a recreational fishing license.

Henry
Wile E Coyote
Just a followup on the State License and Fedreal permits.

A State FWC fishing license MUST be supplied on a Charter trip as either a "Charter Boat Fishing License"
or "Charter Captain Fishing License". It is not legal to offer a Charter or Guide service from a boat without
one of these!

Federal Permits are required for any Charter or Guide Service fishing by boat it State waters for any fish
regulated under Federal Permitting (Most of them). Even if the boat does not exceed the state limite (3 miles
in the Atlantic, and 9 miles in the Gulf) they must have the NOAA Permits for the fish they are targeting or
retaining.

As mentioned there are a lot of people offering "Charters" and "Fishing Trips" that have neither of these, and
require their guest to by their own license, but it is not legal. Any trip that involves an exchange of money
beyond the actual cost of gas, bait, oil, ice, is a Charter, and all regulations apply. To collect any money
for services, boat payments, maintance, etc., is not allowed unless running as a Charter.

Henry
Wile E. Coyote
Its probably been mentioned, but this is a very important reminder for Charter operators, and captains.

I have talked personally to FWC AND NOAA field law enforcement agents to both clairify and confirm
a few points.

First Florida law requires Charter boats to carry Federal NOAA permits, even if fishing in state waters,
for spesis regulated by the National marine Fisheries (this is most saltwater fish, not all, but most). Federal
regulations also state that NOAA permit holders (which the state requires) be adhered to even when fishing
in state waters. The boat is the holder of the permits, so as long as they are active, the boat is bound to
the regulations reguardless of the nature of the trip, even a recreational day with your family, if it on that boat!

This being said, if you, like me occational take your family or friends out on a "non-charter" fishing day
all of the limits and exclusions for your charter operation still apply, including the captain / crew exclusion
of certain spesis, such as grouper and snappers. Your family and friends would be under the bag limit
of normal charter reg's. There would not be a need for a mate on these trips, so the boats catch limit would
pnly exclude the captain on such trips, as excluded crew bag limits are concerned.

Another point that is important is that once you have the FWC license, you are identified as a Charter boat, and
any fish that are caught and retained, must have the corrosponding NOAA permit! This applies even on personal fishing trips! The rules require Federal permits for the spesis "targeted", not just caught and retained, so catch and
release of reguleted spesis still requires a permit. A "Dolphin / Wahoo" permit is required to fish for these
2 spesis, but a "Dolphin / Wahoo" Operator Card is also required to "retain" any of these fish. If you don't have
bottom spesis permits. don't get caught with lines on the bottom, or fish in your boat.

Some permits overlap the Gulf and South Atlantic, some do not, so you must have those appropriate for both
location and spesis. The Gulf is a Closed Fishery, so permits are hard to come by, and expensive. The Atlantic
waters are likely heading that way, at least as far as bottom spesis go, so those that have them would do
well not to let them expire. The enforcement side is likely to start picking up spot checks on the Atlantic side
and the Gulf is still not done with the "sting" operation that has caught many operators.

I have done a lot of research on this, and talked with both the offices and field agents to varify many of the
items. If there are any questions feel free to contact me, and I can give you my sources contact info
if needed.

Henry
ACME Ventures LLC
www.ACME-Ventures-Fishing.com
ACME-Ventures-Fishing@hughes.net
321-794-7955

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