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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NOAA releases its National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy

Written by NACO Staff on Thursday, 12 February 2015 14:18. Posted in News

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

policy thumbnail

NACO Comments on the Southeast Region Electronic Monitoring and Reporting Implementation Plan

Written by NACO Staff on Monday, 09 February 2015 10:14. Posted in News

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 EPA NPDES - Incidental Vessel Discharge Permit

Written by NACO Staff on Thursday, 05 February 2015 15:43. Posted in News

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

Latest Action:

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  



2015 Annual Meeting News

Written by NACO Staff on Monday, 26 January 2015 16:09. Posted in News

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.


NPDES - Vessel Discharge - 3 Year Exemption Enacted

Written by NACO Staff on Friday, 12 December 2014 15:54. Posted in News

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

Written by NACO Staff on Friday, 05 September 2014 16:01. Posted in News

The Senate will reconvene September 5, 2014 and the two top issues we are facing are the Senate Bill S2444 USCG Reauthorization Bill (Life raft issue) and the 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. 

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. 

USCG Charter Boat Captain Medical Certificate Information

Written by NACO Staff on Thursday, 17 April 2014 20:07. Posted in News

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 

Survival Craft Legislation

Written by NACO Staff on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 13:11. Posted in News

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.

NACO attends the NOAA 2nd National Saltwater Recreational Fishing Summit in Alexandria, VA

Written by NACO Staff on Friday, 04 April 2014 14:45. Posted in News

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. 

At this meeting, the National Marine Fisheries Service(NMFS) announced plans to develop a national recreational fishing policy. This policy will broadly guide future actions and better integrate recreational fishing with NOAA Fisheries' mission.
Captain Bob Zales, NACO Governmental Affairs Director, stated: “The common theme produced at both of these summits is that access and stability to fisheries is of prime importance to the recreational fishing community.  This message has been driven home to the NMFS, and we should see more cooperation between the agency and recreational fishing industry in the future. A national recreational fishing policy will go a long way to establishing the importance of recreational fishing to our nation.”
Thank you Captain Zales and Captain Yamada for representing the interests of NACO members at this very important meeting. These captains, as well as the entire Board of Directors and staff, are working for you.
The link below is the NOAA Fisheries press release providing more information about the meeting:

EPA National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System(NPDES)

Written by NACO Staff on Tuesday, 25 March 2014 16:40. Posted in News

The National Association of Charterboat Operators (NACO) has been working diligently to secure a permanent exemption to the EPA National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) requirements since the Clean Water Act was overturned by the courts system in 2005. Working with various recreational and commercial fishing organizations since that time, we were able to gain the current temporary exemption.  There are several bills in Congress that will provide for a permanent exemption for all vessels less than 79 feet in length. Senators Begich (AK) and Rubio (FL) have introduced Senate Bill 2094 (S2094), which provides for a permanent exemption to the NPDES for all vessels less than 79 feet.  Your help is needed to help ensure passage of this bill.  NACO has formally endorsed this bill, and all charter boat associations should support this bill as well. NACO will add your association's name to the growing list of organizations supporting this legislation, if you will provide approval.  Please call the NACO office (1-866-981-5136) or send an email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) denoting approval to add your association's name to the list. Individuals should contact their Senators and request that they support S2094 and become a co-sponsor.  These actions should be taken before March 31, 2014.  
Anyone who charters, fishes commercially, or just enjoys boating should support this effort. The permanent exemption will eliminate another regulatory burden, and eliminate the costs associated with implementation and compliance. We know of no private or industry related boating operations that oppose this effort.  Please provide your support today.

LoBiondo’s Permanent Moratorium

Written by NACO Staff on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 11:07. Posted in News

NACO has been in a lead position working with Congressman LoBiondo, as well as other key legislators and organizations, to take this action.

LoBiondo’s Permanent Moratorium on Fines for Incidental Discharges from Commercial Fishing Vessels Approved by House Committee


Congressman Has Led Effort to Protect Critical South Jersey Industry from Competing State Regulations, Excessive Fines.


Click here for the full article

NMFS has published individual fishing quota (IFQ)

Written by NACO Staff on Sunday, 15 December 2013 15:15. Posted in National

NMFS has published individual fishing quota (IFQ) standard prices and fee percentage for the IFQ cost recovery program in the halibut and sablefish fisheries of the North Pacific. In fisheries such as halibut in AK 

and red snapper in the Gulf where efforts are underway to move to recreational IFQ's, it is necessary to understand the potential costs that recreational charter captains and others will experience if these programs go to IFQ. 

Please click here to view the entire federal register notice including pricing break downs. 

If you have any questions regarding this notice and how it may affect you or your fishery, please feel free to send in your questions to the NACo office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will submit them to the NACO fisheries committee for responses. 

Announceme​nt: New NACO Administra​tive Director

Written by NACO Staff on Thursday, 06 February 2014 17:20. Posted in News

NACO is delighted to announce that Susan Mason has been hired to be the new NACO Administrative Director. Susan has been our Membership Coordinator since July, 2013, and she previously worked with us from 2004-2008. In her new capacity, Susan will be responsible for the day-to-day administration of the NACO office and will provide daily oversight and coordination of NACO operations. She possesses a sound knowledge of NACO activities and a valuable insight into the needs of our membership. Many of you know her or have interacted with her during these times.

Susan has already hit the ground running and is currently working on updating our membership database, renewing memberships and coordinating membership renewals with sponsoring organizations. She and/or a member of her staff will be available to you during regular NACO office business hours, which are 8:00AM to 5:00PM CST, Monday -Friday at 1-866-981-5136, or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please join us in congratulating Susan Mason on her new responsibilities and welcoming her to our management team.

NOAA Unveils New Electronic Chart Online Viewer

Written by NACO Staff on Friday, 08 November 2013 13:31. Posted in News

For more than ten years, since NOAA introduced its electronic navigational charts, you have needed to purchase a specialized chart display system to view the NOAA ENC® as a seamless chart database. Starting today, you don’t need a system to view the ENC depictions; you can use Coast Survey’s new web-based viewer called NOAA ENC® Online .

To view complete article: Click Here