NACO is a national association of charterboat owners and operators that was formed in 1991. Representing thousands of individuals all across the United States, our membership includes marine charters who provide fishing, sailing, diving, eco-tours, and other excursion vessels who carry passengers for hire. As the premiere Association that represents charter boat interests, our objective is to improve the professional charter boat operator's bottom line and to provide a strong voice in Washington, DC.
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NACO's Capt. Bob Zales, Capt. Tom Becker, and Susan Mason-Yadav in collaboration with our friends from California, Capt. Roger Thomas of Golden Gate Fisherman's Association and Sportfishing Association of California's Ken Franke and Alayna Siddall put some boots to the ground to visit with Senator Wicker in his Gulfport office this week, It's good to know that we have people like Senator Wicker in office taking his time to understand how certain regulations impact the Charter Industry.
The Department of State, as authorized under the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA), has appointed Mr. Ray Bogan as an alternate
to serve as the U.S Recreational Commissioner to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). This
position is a Presidential Appointment so Ray will serve until such time as the President makes the appointment. Since the Department
of State has placed Ray in this position he is in a great position to receive the Presidential appointment.
Capt. Bob Zales, II, President of NACO, stated, “I have known Ray for many years and have worked with him on a host of recreational
fishing issues, including working with him as a member of the U.S. ICCAT Advisory Committee. Ray is an excellent choice to serve as
the U.S. Recreational Commissioner to ICCAT which is why NACO fully endorsed and recommended Ray for the position.”
NACO will continue to recommend and endorse Ray for the full appointment. His lifelong involvement in his family charter/headboat
business, his work for all recreational anglers, and his vast knowledge of fisheries and the management system makes him the best choice
for the position.
We offer our sincere congratulations to Ray.
Award presented to Capt. Ed O'Brien on behalf of the Commandant by Assistant Commandant, Rear-Admiral, Paul Thomas
The Commandant of the United Stated Coast Guard takes great pleasure in presenting the Coast Guard Meritorious Public Service Award to Captain Edward A. O'Brien. As the Vice-President of the National Association of Charterboat Operators and President of the Maryland Charterboat Association, Capt. Ed O'Brien's leadership and relentless dedication to improving both charterboat operations and the licensing and certification processes that apply to charterboat captains, along with his steadgfast efforts to maintain open, candid dialog with regulators, not only improved overall safety, but saved countless hours by averting bureaucratic, political mis-steps, saving significant taxpayers dollars.
On behalf of our members NACO wishes to provide our full support to Raymond D. Bogan to be appointed as the next U.S. Recreational Commissioner to ICCAT. Ray's experience and expertise on national and international fishery issues is unsurpassed. Along with his extensive background in fishery management he is the best candidate qualified and able to represent the recreational fishing community in the ICCAT arena.
To view the entire letter of support click here
NACO Support for Capt. Andrew Mezirow to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council
We appreciate the opportunity to recommend Captain Mezirow and strongly encourage you to support his appointment to serve on the NPFMC. Should you have any questions on this issue or others please contact me.
To view the entire letter please click here
NOAA has released its National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy.
"The policy—crafted with input from recreational fishing and boating communities, conservation organizations, and managers across the nation—reflects anglers’ voices on a number of existing and emerging concerns, including public access, resource stewardship, regulatory education, science innovation, and better lines of communication between state and federal rulemakers with the community." (comment from NOAA webpage)
NACO’s Capt. Bob Zales, Capt. Richard Yamada and Capt. Dave Pecci, (Members of the Recreational Fishing Working Group) were involved in the development of the document. As with most Policy Statements it is not perfect but it is a step forward in finding a balance between commercial and recreational fishing interests.
Click the link or image below to read the National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy
While the Implementation Plan is currently limited to theSoutheast Region we know the National Marine Fisheries Service is considering moving to electronic data monitoring and reporting in all areas of the country. Clearly, electronic data monitoring and reporing is the way of the future to more precise and timely collection of effort and catch in fisheries...To Read the entire comment letter, please click here
S.373 - A bill to provide for the establishment of nationally uniform and environmentally sound standards governing discharges incidental to the normal operation of a vessel.
As of yesterday afternoon, Senators Rubio, Thune and Nelson have reintroduced the bill from last year that will permanently exempt all charter vessels less than 79’ from having to obtain and comply with the EPA NPDES, (Incidental Vessel Discharge) permit.
Sen. Rubio, Marco [R-FL] (Introduced 02/04/2015)
Senate - Commerce, Science, and Transportation
02/04/2015 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
NACO President Capt. Bob Zales, II was invited and gave testimony on behalf of the For-Hire Charter Fleet before the Senate Committee.
To read the full testimony given by Capt. Zales on February 4, 2015 please click here
Congratulations to our reelected Board members Capt. Percy Blackburn (VA), Capt. Roger Parcelles (FL), and Capt. Greg Sutter (AK) and newly elected Board members Capt. George Eller (FL) and Capt. Mike Schoonveld (IN ). We look forward to working together and to continue moving NACO forward.
NACO extends a special thank you to the two Board members who decided not to seek reelection, Capt. Scott Robson (FL) and Capt. Bryan Bondioli (AK) for their many years of service to NACO. Their work is greatly appreciated.
Board members elected as officers, are as follows:
Capt. Robert F. Zales II, President
Capt. Tom Becker , 1st Vice President,
Capt. Ed O’Brien, 2nd Vice President
Capt. Ron Maglio, Treasurer
Capt. Charlie Phillips, Secretary
We appreciate the hard work and dedication from the previous officers Capt. Percy Blackburn (President), Capt. Bob Rush (1st Vice President), Capt. Roger Parcelles (2nd Vice President), Capt. Randall Schmidt (Treasurer), and Capt. Dave Pecci (Secretary). They all did an excellent job and the current Officers will strive to continue that effort.
Thanks to Susan Mason and her staff for their hard work on all the day to day issues that come before NACO. Her efforts and willingness to serve the Board has helped to enhance our Association.
As NACO is a membership driven Association our members concerns are very important to us. We encourage membership and participation with your local Associations and are open to suggestions on how we may better serve you. NACO is here to help you and to work to ease regulatory burdens that adversely affect your business.
We at NACO look forward to the coming year and working with the Board and the Membership to keep NACO as the premier voice for the For-Hire Charter Boat Industry.
Good News: Vessel Discharge 3 year Exemption to be enacted!!
"The Senate was able to reach a compromise deal and, as part of the Coast Guard Reauthorization Act, just enacted a three year exemption for small vessels.
Broader reform on vessel discharge, including a permanent exemption for small vessels, remains a top priority for Senator Rubio in the next Congress and we look forward to continuing our engagement with you and your colleagues as, again, we work to get a more permanent solution across the finish line."
Once again our persistent hard work by NACO to gain a permanent exemption from the impact of the EPA NPDES requirements is paying off. Working with many other vessel associations and industry stakeholders NACO has been the leading voice to obtain a permanent exemption since the issue began in 2006. While we are extremely happy for the 3 year temporary exemption our work is not done. We will be working with our Congressional leaders in the next Congress to obtain a permanent exemption and are very optimistic we will be successful. NACO's efforts will save countless dollars and hours of regulatory burdens for our members.
We thank each of you that took time to individually contact your Senators in this effort.
While we were successful in gaining a 3 year extension for relief from the permit we will be steady working for permanent relief.
Senate Bill S2444 USCG Reauthorization Bill (Life raft issue) and the S2094 Vessel Incidental Discharge Act
The Senate will reconvene S2094 Vessel Incidental Discharge Act. We have included copies of NACO's official letters below for you, our members, to utilize in the formation of your own indiviudal letters to your States Senators. If you need help finding your Senators fax numbers please let us know - we have those on file and are happy to help. and the two top issues we are facing are the Senate Bill S2444 USCG Reauthorization Bill (Life raft issue) and the
NACO's Official Letter regarding the S2444 USCG Reauthorization Bill is as follows: Please click here to view the letter
NACO's Official Letter regarding the S2094, the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act is as follows: Please click here to view the letter
It is imperative that we let our voices be heard by our Senators not only as an association fighting on the front lines to protect our members and the charter boat industry but also as individual constituents of the state that you and your family live and run your businesses in. Our Senators need to know how important it is that these two bills recieve Senate approval so that your ability to operate your businesses will not be adversely affected.
NACO, along with our coalition partners Sportfishing Association of California and Golden Gate Fishermans Association, has been successful in gaining approval from a congressional subcommittee of language placed in the House Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014 that will grandfather our vessels for out of water survival craft. New construction or major retrofits in cold water areas as determined by the Secretary would be the only ones affected after January, 2016.
NACO wishes to thank everyone that sent in letters or called their congressional members on the topic. This effort was a well coordinated one involving Capt. Bob Zales, II, Captain Ed O’brien, Capt Tom Becker, and Capt. Bob Rush of the National Association of Charterboat Operators, Capt. Ken Franke of the SAC, and Capt. Roger Thomas of the GGFA. We appreciate everyone’s help. This was a huge team effort. The next step is the full congress will vote on it followed by the Senate. We are not done until the President signs the bill. We will be continuing to engage with the Senate on the topic and will be needing your continued help. NACO will be providing the next steps and communication info to you.
Masters, Mates, and Operators
What is a medical certiﬁcate? A medical certiﬁcate serves as proof that you are medically ﬁt for duty under the jurisdiction of your Merchant Mariner Credential. Prior to a separate medical certiﬁcate being issued, your Merchant Mariner Credential serves as proof of compliance (along with any medical waivers) with the appropriate medical standards.
When did this change occur? Medical Certiﬁcates were separated from the Merchant Mariner Credential per the recent STCW ﬁnal rule, and this process became effective on January 24, 2014.
For the complete article please click here
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service held its second National Saltwater Recreational Fishing Summit in Alexandria, VA on April 1-2. This meeting, attended by more than 100 leaders within the saltwater recreational fishing community, provided a forum for identifying important issues and collaborative solutions. NACO has participated in both summits. Captain Bob Zales and Captain Richard Yamada, members of the NACO Board of Directors, attended this summit representing NACO and its sponsoring associations and members.