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.

Learn more about [ Joining NACO ]

USCG & NACO Resign Memorandum of Agreement for 2016

Written by NACO Staff on Monday, 18 April 2016 10:40. Posted in News



Posted by Lt. Jodie Knox, Friday, April 15, 2016

Yesterday, the Coast Guard renewed the Memorandum of Agreement with the National Association of Charterboat Operators (NACO). The purpose of this agreement is to ensure the safety and security of the water and ports of the United States where parties exchange information to promote the interest of the American public.

The MOA was signed by Edward O’Brien, vice president of NACO and Rear Adm. Paul Thomas, assistant commandant for prevention policy.

“We appreciate this because nobody knows the local waters better than the charterboat operators,” said Thomas. “When it comes to the ‘See Something Say Something’ initiative and keeping an eye on our waterways, NACO is the organization for the Coast Guard to partner with.”

- See more at: USCG_NACO_MOA_2016

-Read the: NACO-USCG-MOA



Written by NACO Staff on Tuesday, 23 February 2016 11:17. Posted in News

Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015 Signed into Law,

Includes New Survival Craft Requirements

For Immediate Release

February 23, 2016

Contact: Susan Mason

National Association of Charterboat Operators

866-981-5136, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The USCG Authorization Act of 2015 was signed into law on February 8, 2016 becoming Public Law 114-120.  The new law includes a new Section 301 which supersedes the one size fits all survival craft requirement passed in 2010.  The enactment of the new Sec 301 has been a NACO legislative priority since 2011.

NACO contacted other National, Regional and Local small vessel passenger associations to form a coalition to work on the issue and together we were able to have the new Sec 301 requirement implemented into law.  The first call we made for help was to Senator Marco Rubio, the freshman Senator from Florida.  He immediately understood the issue and the pending impact it would have on Florida small family passenger vessel businesses as well as those across the Nation. 

Senator Rubio initiated the legislative process that ended with the creation of PL 114-120.  He and his staff worked with us every step over the 5 years to have the current requirement implemented saving many small family businesses across the country and easing the regulatory and financial burdens on all of them. 

Working with Senator Rubio on this effort in the Senate was Senator Nelson (FL), Senator Wicker (MS), Senator Thune (SD), Senator Cardin (MD), and Senator Feinstein (CA).  The coordinated effort in the House was led by Representative Duncan Hunter (CA), Representative Lobiondo (NJ), Representative Garamendi (CA), and Representative Harris (MD). 

NACO members responded to our many requests to keep in constant contact with their Senators and Representatives on this issue which shows what a membership driven association can accomplish.  The coordination with the other small passenger vessel associations also shows how working together on common issues can provide successful results for the small passenger vessel industry.

NACO appreciates the hard work led by Senator Rubio and the other Senators, Representatives, and their staffs to have this issue resolved.  The many small family businesses that provide a safe and entertaining recreational experience for the thousands of families and individuals to enjoy our natural marine resources are truly grateful for the dedication and hard work of our Congressional leaders.

NACO continues to stress the excellent safety record of the small passenger for hire fleet across the country.  The USCG 2013 report to Congress “Survival Craft Safety” clearly verifies the record of safety for this industry and proves that small passenger vessel safety should remain the responsibility of the USCG as they are the experts on vessel safety.


NACO is the leading voice of the small passenger vessel industry in the United States.  Our membership is located across the country from Alaska to Maine, including Hawaii, the Great Lakes, and Caribbean Territories.  We provide legislative and regulatory representation to help ease the regulatory and financial burdens on the small passenger vessel industry.


Cancellation of CVC Policy Letter 15-05: Requirements for Out-of-Water Survival Craft

Written by NACO Staff on Friday, 19 February 2016 08:40. Posted in National

On February 8, 2016, the President signed H.R. Bill 4188, the “Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015” into law. In it, section 301 amended the out-of-water survival craft requirements in Title 46 United States Code (U.S.C.) §3104, limiting its applicability. This Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB) notifies the public of these changes and hereby cancels the now obsolete CVC Policy Letter 15-05, which concerned previous out-of-water survival craft requirements.

Section 301 of the 2015 Coast Guard Authorization Act (CGAA) had two significant effects on the applicability of out-of-water survival craft. First, it amended 46 U.S.C. §3104, paragraph (a), requiring that only “passenger vessels” that operate in cold waters and are built or undergo a major conversion after January 1, 2016 shall be equipped with out-of-water survival craft. "Passenger vessel" is defined in 46 U.S.C. §2101(22) as a vessel of at least 100 gross tons (among other criteria). Currently, Title 46 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Subchapter H - Passenger Vessels and 46 CFR, Subchapter W - Lifesaving Appliances and Arrangements dictates the survival craft requirements for passenger vessels of at least 100 gross tons. The lowest category of survival craft authorized in Subchapter W is the Inflatable Buoyant Apparatus (IBAs), with which, no part of an individual is immersed in water. Therefore, passenger vessels properly in compliance with Subchapters H and W already meet the out-of-water survival craft requirements directed in the amended 46 U.S.C. §3104.

Second, the 2015 CGAA removed the language in the previous amendment of 46 U.S.C. §3104 that restricted the Coast Guard from approving any in-water survival craft (e.g., life floats and buoyant apparatus) for the purposes of all of Part B of Title 46 U.S.C. Therefore, because the other inspected vessels (small passenger vessels, offshore supply vessels, sailing school vessels, and cargo vessels as mentioned in the CVC Policy Letter 15-05) were not specifically named in the 2015 CGAA, they may continue to use their existing in-water survival craft beyond February 26, 2016. Furthermore, all fixed manned offshore platforms may continue to use in-water survival craft beyond February 26, 2016, as well. The Coast Guard will be issuing separate correspondence to survival craft manufactures re-authorizing or extending their type approval certificates for in-water survival craft. Lastly, a separate information bulletin will be issued explaining the survival craft requirements specifically for uninspected commercial fishing vessels.

Again, as a result of the 2015 CGAA, CVC Policy Letter 15-05 is rendered obsolete and the Coast Guard is cancelling it effective immediately. The Coast Guard stands ready to answer the questions of vessel and offshore platform owners and operators regarding their specific survival craft requirements.

Questions concerning this matter may be directed to the Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance, Commandant (CG-CVC) at 202-372-1220, or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Questions specifically concerning survival craft type approvals should be directed to the Office of Design and Engineering Standards, Commandant (CG-ENG) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


President signs CG Bill into Law

Written by NACO Staff on Wednesday, 10 February 2016 11:39. Posted in News

Statement by the White House Press Secretary

On Monday, February 08, 2016, the President signed into law:  H.R. 4188, the “Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015,” which (1) authorizes FYs 2016 and 2017 appropriations and amends laws related to the Coast Guard; (2) authorizes FYs 2016 and 2017 appropriations for the Federal Maritime Commission; and (3) amends various other maritime-related provisions of law;

A Public Law Number will be assigned soon.

To All NACO Members:

We are extremely pleased to provide the above info to you.  H.R.4188, Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015, includes Sec 301 which replaces Sec 301 of the Coast Guard Act of 2010.  This is known as the out of the water survival craft regulation and the new language eliminates the 2010 requirement and places the responsibility of required safety equipment back into the hands of the USCG, the experts on vessel, crew, and passenger safety.

In June of 2011 NACO took the lead to organize a coalition of Regional and National Passenger Vessel Associations to work with Congress to change a requirement that mandated all USCG Certified Passenger Vessels to carry out of the water survival craft.  The 2010 USCG Appropriations Act included this requirement which would have eliminated the use of the Life Floats most of these vessels have historically carried.  After over 4 years of combined hard work by NACO and our partners working with Congress on February 1, 2016 we finally achieved success as the House passed HR 4188, the USCG Authorization Act of 2015, which includes Sec 301 that supersedes  the 2010 requirement.  Most, if not all USCG COI Passenger Vessels will now be allowed to operate with the same safety equipment we have always used.  Our efforts result in a significant cost savings for the owners of these USCG COI vessels and also eliminate an additional regulatory burden.

We have calculated the approximate savings for these vessel owners.  Keep in mind that NACO membership is only $50.00 per year.  The savings listed below are based on a 48’ charter fishing vessel that is certified to carry 18 passengers.  With a crew of 4 this vessel would have had to have a 25 person out of the water survival craft which weighs almost 400 pounds.  Depending on where the survival craft is located the vessel may require a launching device and because of the extra weight of both a stability test may be required.  After the 2nd year the inflatable would require yearly servicing at an approved facility meaning the vessel would not be able to sail while the inflatable is off the vessel.  In addition to the initial costs, the yearly reinspection costs, the potential costs of a stability test, and potential costs of a launching device, the USCG required monthly safety drills would also include a drill to pretend to launch the inflatable in case of an emergency. 

All costs are approximate and based on the maximum costs since some route requirements may require less expensive inflatables.

25 person Inflatable fully equipped                        $8,000.00

Launching device                                                 $1,750.00

Yearly reinspection                                              $2,000.00

New vessel stability test                                       $3,000.00

Total                                                                 $14,750.00

NACO efforts to ease the regulatory burdens and costs due to the legislation we helped to pass have saved the USCG COI vessel owner several thousand dollars and eased the monthly drill reporting process.  The figures above will vary depending on the vessel passenger capacity, route, and other factors.  In addition, our efforts to reduce the burdens on USCG COI vessels work to prevent similar requirements on all passenger vessels, inspected or not. 

This effort is just one example of the many benefits of membership in NACO.  Clearly, the $50.00 per year membership fee is one of the best bargains a for hire passenger vessel owner can find.  

NACO has worked over 4 years with other industry partners to have the current legislation passed and signed into law.  The 2010 regulation was going to create unnecessary expenses and regulatory burdens on the small passenger vessel industry.  The effort we have provided on behalf of our members will save thousands of dollars immediately and for many in the future.



CONGRESS APPROVES USCG AUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2015 (H.R.4188), sends to the President to sign

Written by NACO Staff on Tuesday, 02 February 2016 13:30. Posted in News

NACO is pleased to announce that on Monday evening, February 1, we achieved one of our greatest accomplishments for NACO members and the For-Hire Industy.  The passage of the USCG Bill includes language that eliminates the 2010 requirement that all USCG certified passenger vessels that carry more than 6 passengers must replace required life floats with out of the water survival craft.  The 2010 requirement was to go into effect on February 26th.

Section 301 of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015, when signed into law, will supersede the current requirement mandating all COI vessels to install out of the water survival craft.  That requirement was originally enacted in the year 2010.  In June of 2011 NACO contacted the other National and Regional Passenger Associations to form a coalition to work to change the 2010 law.  NACO and our partners worked overtime since then to convince Congress to reconsider its decision.  Although some familiar with Congressional activities said we would not succeed, our persistence and unity of action persevered.

The last step is for the President to sign H.R. 4188.  Congress will deliver the bill to the White House in a few days.  Once it arrives there, the President will have 10 days to sign the bill into law, veto it, or simply let it become law without his signature.  There is no indication that the President will veto the legislation. 

Once H.R. 4188 (including section 301) becomes law a large number of NACO vessel owners will be relieved of the out of the water survival craft mandate of the 2010 law.  Current Coast Guard regulations specifying the type of survival craft (life floats, IBAs, etc.) applicable to a specific vessel will continue unchanged.

2016 Annual Meeting Report

Written by NACO Staff on Thursday, 28 January 2016 07:35. Posted in News

NACO's Annual meeting was recently held January 18-20, 2016 in San Diego, CA.  The meeting went well this year with some exciting decisions to help move NACO forward in the coming years, We would like to congratulate the reelected Board members Capt. Ron Maglio (IN), Capt. Paul Malo (MA), Capt. Ed O' Brien (MD), and Capt. Richard Yamada (AK)  and our newly elected Board member Capt. Butch Smith (WA). We also would like to thank the two Board members who decided not to seek reelection, Capt. Bob Rush Jr. (NJ) and Capt. Randall Schmidt (IN) for their many years of service for NACO.  Their work is greatly appreciated.

We congratulate the Board members reelected as officers, Capt. Bob Zales, II (President), Capt. Tom Becker (1st Vice President), Capt. Ed O’Brien (2nd Vice President), Capt. Ron Maglio (Treasurer), and Capt. Charlie Phillips (Secretary).  We appreciate their continued hard work and dedication to NACO and the For-Hire Industry.

NACO extends its appreciation to Susan Mason-Yadav 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 continues to help enhance our Association.

NACO is constantly looking for new ways to serve our members and are in the process of implementing several new changes which you will see over the coming months. If you have not already liked our NACO Facebook page, Followed us on Twitter & Joined us on LinkedIn please do so; those as well as our NACO website will help to keep you informed.

As NACO is a membership driven association your concerns are very important to us.  We encourage your participation with your local associations and are here to help you with regulatory issues and other issues that affect your business.  The web site will be updated this week  with the Board member contact info.  When you have an issue we urge you to contact the NACO office toll free 866-981-5136 so they can address the issue or bring it to the attention of the Board.  If you have suggestions on how we may better serve you please provide those.  NACO is here to help you and to work to ease regulatory burdens that adversely affect your business.  

We look forward to the coming year and working with the Board and the Membership to keep NACO as the premier voice for the Charter Boat Industry.

Capt. Bob Zales, II
NACO President

GAO report shows significant data collection gaps

Written by NACO Staff on Thursday, 17 December 2015 10:05. Posted in News

New GAO report shows significant data collection gaps affecting recreational fishing of red snapper, other fish

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), the chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, today sent a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Pritzker in response to the recently released Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on Fisheries Data Collection. The report is the product of a 2013 bipartisan congressional request asking the GAO to study the National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) marine recreational fisheries data collection program. The report concluded that NMFS lacks a comprehensive strategy and recommends that the agency develop such a plan with programmatic goals and time frames, and clearly communicate that information to stakeholders. In the letter, Rubio urges the secretary to fully support implementation of the GAO’s recommendations.

“NMFS must work diligently to rebuild trust with key stakeholders for more effective management of our nation’s fisheries,” Rubio wrote. “The importance of having these stakeholders as data collection partners cannot be overstated. Our fisheries support millions of jobs and are economically vital to coastal communities throughout the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic.  However, without effective and trustworthy data collection, these benefits will not be realized. A transparent, structured plan with established time frames is essential for a successful data program.”

Background: As Chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, Rubio has detailed the need for improved quality and timeliness of data collection to ensure sound fisheries management. On May 20, 2015, he reintroduced the Florida Fisheries Improvement Act, which was reported out of the Senate’s commerce committee on June 25, 2015. If enacted, S. 1403 would: 

    Repeal separate catch quotas for the recreational and commercial red snapper fisheries;

    Require both the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and the South Atlantic Fishery         Management Council to review the allocation of fishing privileges;

    Increase public involvement in the scientific and statistical processes that inform fishery management;

    Allow fishery facilities to make use of capital construction funds;

    Allow for more than 10 years of rebuilding for fish stocks managed under an international agreement;

    Require a plan to conduct stock assessments for all stocks currently managed;

    Require a report on better use of fisheries data; and

    Speed up the timeline for fishery disaster declaration.

The full text of the letter is below.


Dear Secretary Pritzker:

As the Chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, I write to encourage you to direct the National Marine Fisheries Service to quickly implement the Government Accountability Office’s recent recommendations, as outlined in the report, “GAO-16-131, Recreational Fisheries Management: The National Marine Fisheries Service Should Develop a Comprehensive Strategy to Guide its Data Collection Efforts.”

The report stems from a 2013 bipartisan congressional request to examine current data collection practices used in determining stock assessments. Although the GAO report notes that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has taken steps to improve data collection for recreational fisheries, the report also states, “NMFS does not have a comprehensive strategy to guide the implementation of its various efforts… Moreover, without clearly communicating the strategy to its stakeholders, NMFS may find it difficult to build trust, potentially limiting its ability to effectively implement MRIP improvement initiatives that rely on data collection partners.”

As noted above, NMFS must work diligently to rebuild trust with key stakeholders for more effective management of our nation’s fisheries. The importance of having these stakeholders as data collection partners cannot be overstated. Our fisheries support millions of jobs and are economically vital to coastal communities throughout the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic.  However, without effective and trustworthy data collection, these benefits will not be realized.  A transparent, structured plan with established time frames is essential for a successful data program. 

As NMFS acknowledges the need to develop this important strategy, I urge you to use the necessary resources within the Department and NMFS to implement the recommended data collection efforts as soon as possible.

Marco Rubio
U.S. Senator


Annual Meeting Info & Request for Board Nominees

Written by Susan Mason on Tuesday, 06 October 2015 12:35. Posted in News


The NACO Annual Business meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn Bayside in San Diego, CA., January 18th through the 20th for a 2 & 1/2 day meeting period. We invite you to attend the meeting and to contact us at the office for more information.

If you would like to run or nominate someone for an available board seat, please contact the office before the deadline of October 18th to submit a current resume/bio and a copy of your current CG license to qualify. This information may be submitted via Mail, fax or email, but must be received no later than October 18, 2015

Any regular member wishing to run for a seat on the Board must go through the selection process of the Nominating Committee to be on the ballot. The Nominating Committee shall nominate that number of candidates at least equal to the number of seats up for re-election to the Board.  Members of the Board of Directors serve a three-year term, and attend the Annual Meeting each year, participate in quarterly meetings, and serve on one or more of the various committees of the Board. A list of those committees is available on the NACO web site.

Elections for the NACO Board of Directors will be finalized at the 2016 Annual Meeting.

If you have any questions, feel free to email us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us
toll free 866-981-5136.

Pending Out of the Water Survival Craft requirement

Written by NACO Staff on Friday, 11 September 2015 12:04. Posted in News

Our united position for this request is that we feel there is no need to change the safety equipment we currently use as our industry has proven to be one of the safest passenger carrying industries in the country. The safety equipment plus the required monthly safety drills we undertake provide a more than adequate safe environment for the passengers and crew we carry. The Coast Guard “Survival Craft Safety” report verifies that our industry is safe and that the use of out of the water survival craft will not provide any more safety than we currently provide.

 NACO Letters to Senators Rubio & Nelson & NACO Survival Craft Info Sheet.


Spending time with Senator Roger Wicker

Written by NACO Staff on Friday, 28 August 2015 08:33. Posted in News

Wicker Visit 082615


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.

Ray Bogan appointed to ICCAT

Written by NACO Staff on Sunday, 19 July 2015 07:32. Posted in News

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. 

U.S. Recreational Commissioner to ICCAT: NACO Support for Capt. Ray Bogan

Written by NACO Staff on Monday, 13 April 2015 17:04. Posted in National

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

USCG Meritorious Public Service Award to Capt. Ed O'Brien

Written by NACO Staff on Tuesday, 02 June 2015 16:40. Posted in News

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.

To view the letter in it's entirety click here To view the award certificate click here

NACO Supports Mezirow - NPFMC

Written by NACO Staff on Friday, 10 April 2015 16:00. Posted in North Pacific

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


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