NACO's Accomplishments for the Charterboat Industry...
2020: A work in progress and continued efforts for our industry stakeholders to receive funding during this time of crisis due to CoVid19!
Hurricane Michael Diusaster Relief Efforts:
NACO in conjunction with IGFA, FWC, and Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission headed up a disaster relief effort for those For-Hire Charter Industry folks in the affected areas of the Florida Panhandle. This assistance was for the owners, operators, and crews of those vessels working in the area affected. Every bit of the monies donated were divided equally amongst the applicants and distributed via checks mailed out to the addresses received from each one.
Everyone received the great news about finally gaining the full exemption from the EPA National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). This whole issue is due to an Appeals Court decision in 2006 in CA that vacated much of the Clean Water Act as it applied to all vessels. A new Clean Water Act was passed in 2008 and it exempted all recreational vessels less than ’79 from the requirements of any incidental discharges from those vessels. Incidental discharges include but are not limited to engine exhaust water, air conditioning systems cooling water, bait well discharges, all bilge water discharges, run off from decks from rain or cleaning, and more. The EPA, due to the judge’s ruling then created permits for various size non-recreational vessels that included all sizes of vessels up to the largest ships that sail in U.S waters. Conditions of the required permit included a possible fee for the permit, daily logging of any incidental discharges, reporting of any incidental discharges and how much was discharged, and more. The rule also included the possibility for anonymous reporting of any discharges with rewards offered for same.
NACO is responsible for the fix for the NMFS HMS charter/headboat permit issue where the HMS charter/headboat permit allows for the sale of legally harvested HMS species while under charter along the east coast, gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean. The problem was that since the HMS permit allowed for the sale of fish the USCG considered those vessels acting as commercial and requiring all the USCG commercial equipment and inspections whether fish were sold or not off the vessel. In some cases the vessels could not accommodate the equipment and in most cases the vessel owner never sold fish so having to add the required equipment was expensive and burdensome. NACO suggested, and the NMFS agreed that there be 2 HMS charter/headboat permits. The NMFS implemented a new HMS charter/headboat permit this year that allows for the harvest of HMS species and if the owner wishes to sell the catch and comply with all USCG commercial vessel requirements that owner can get an endorsement to sell. This change has saved vessel owners several thousand dollars in initial costs plus savings every year due to upkeep and reinspections plus eliminates the regulatory burden of complying with the USCG commercial vessel regs.
NACO, working with other maritime organizations across the country is on the verge of gaining a permanent exemption to the EPA NPDES requirements. The National Pollution Discharge Elimination System was created after a court decision in 2006 and requires a multitude of regulatory requirements such as daily logs, measurements of discharges such as rain water from the vessel, permitting, and potential liability issues for the vessel owners for non compliance. NACO was among the first organizations who fought to gain exemption from this overly burdensome requirement and obtained a temporary exemption since 2006 and has worked diligently to obtain the permanent exemption. We should know within the next month or two if we have succeeded and will pass that info on.
NACO has worked with Great Lakes partners on helping to secure funding to stop the expansion of invasive species such as the Asian carp into the great lakes. We are working with the Great lakes federal legislators to achieve the permanent exemption to the EPA NPDES.
NACO is a member of the National Ocean Policy Coalition and working with many organizations across the country who have been and will be adversely affected by the requirements of the National Ocean Council and Regional Planning Bodies has been successful in curtailing the impacts of this policy created by Executive Order signed by President Obama. Our efforts in working with others have been successful in eliminating funding for the NOP and Congress is taking a serious look at making significant changes to the policy or eliminating it all together. More news on this effort will be available soon. The National Ocean Policy affects all maritime users, including the Great Lakes, plus pretty much every industry in the country in some form.
NACO helped our west coast members gain much disaster funding for several fishery disasters over recent years. We worked with key Congressional members in this effort and the funding was provided in the last budget agreement.
NACO has worked to keep catch shares/IFQs out of the charter fishing industry as these tools only serve to consolidate fishing vessels limiting capacity while providing no real benefit to the fishery resource. They enhance the pockets of a few while eliminating jobs for many. The key battleground for this effort has been in the Gulf of Mexico where NACO has led the effort to end the push for catch shares/IFQs. We are hopeful that final success will be achieved at the April Gulf Council meeting as due to the efforts of many NACO members sending the NMFS and Council their strong opposition to any catch share program the voice of the charter for hire industry has been heard. Updates will follow.
NACO continues to work for the industry to reduce the regulatory burdens and economic impacts that affect us. We have a major presence in Washington and work with legislators across the country. The savings we achieve for our industry far outweigh the cost of membership. We appreciate our members and encourage others to join. The more members we have the more we can do for everyone. We urge you to spread the word on what NACO is able to do and the savings we obtain by working to eliminate or curtail proposed regulations on our industry. There is strength in numbers, join today.
NACO IS SUCCESSFUL IN WORKING WITH CONGRESS TO SAVE SMALL PASSENGER VESSEL OWNERS DOLLARS AND REGULATORY BURDENS
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 almost 5 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 they 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 $65.00 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 inflatable's.
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
NACO's efforts to ease the regulatory burdens and costs due to the legislation we helped to pass has 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 in the future, inspected or not.
This effort is just one example of the many benefits of membership in NACO. Clearly, the $65.00 per year membership fee is one of the best
bargains a for hire passenger vessel owner can find
2015 AND PREVIOUS YEARS ACCOMPLISHMENTS
NACO, along with others in the industry, was successful in gaining another exemption to the EPA NPDES Vessel Discharge Permit; which, should relate to a permanent one before the end of 3 years. The current exemption runs through December 2017 and we expect success in gaining a pemanent exemption in the next Congress.
NACO has been successful in working with the USCG to keep the medical issues regarding licensing reasonable allowing for less time in review and more reasonable determinations.
As an active partner we are diligently working with the National Ocean Policy Coalition and have kept National Ocean Policy impacts at a minimum for our industry. We will be working with the NOPC and Congress in the new Congress to eleminate or dramatically reduce the impact on industry of the NOP.
Vessel General Permit Exemption for Uninspected Charter Boats
We succeeded in getting all 6-pack and less charter boats exempted from the Vessel General Permit (VGP), which EPA and the USCG will be requiring for all boats starting in 2013. This would have required you to keep another permit on your boat and quarterly inspections.
We worked diligently to save you the $130 TWIC fee and the requirement to have them. The USCG announced they would allow mariners WITHOUT A VALID TWIC who operate on board vessels that do not have a security planor work in secure port to not require or renew a MMC. These vessels include:
- Uninspected passenger vessels of less than 100 GRT
- Vessels inspected under subchapter T of Title 46 Code of Federal Regulations, except those on international voyages
This saved you money and time!
Improved Turnaround Time for License Renewal
We worked with USCG Headquarters to improve the turnaround time for renewing your captain’s license, if you had no medical issues. Previously it was taking up to 6 months to get your license; we have reports from members where it has only taken 10 days now!
National Ocean Policy
We are contiue to work on The National Ocean Policy (Presidential order) by informing Congress of the ways it will negatively impact our industry and requesting them to hold oversight hearings. This effort has resulted in no funding by Congress for the NOP since the EO was signed in 2010.
Coast Guard Inspection Fee Cap
NACO took the lead for the maritime industry and successfully lobbied to obtain a cap on Coast Guard inspection user fees. This win saved the charter boat industry an estimated $23 million over ten years.
NACO successfully lobbied the U.S. Coast Guard to withdraw the Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) requirement for un-inspected vessels. The EPIRB rule would have cost charter boat operators between $1,350 and $1,500 to equip each of their vessels.
Subchapter T Exemption
NACO succeeded in exempting charter boat operators who carry more than six passengers from certain provisions of the Subchapter T regulation, which would have imposed a host of costly new equipment rules on small inspected vessels, including inappropriate inflatable survival crafts, time consuming crew and passenger lists and costly annual dry docking. It is estimated that NACO's success saved charter boat operators over $3,000 per vessel.
NACO worked to clarify that Personal Floatation Device (PFD) regulations will not apply to charter boat operators. Members had contacted NACO regarding a widespread yet inaccurate media campaign asserting that commercial charter boat passengers would have to wear PFD's. NACO worked with the U.S. Coast Guard to guarantee that the rule would affect only recreational vessels and not charter boats.
NACO succeeded in exempting the charter boat industry from having to comply with the costly rule of Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for seafarers (STCW) by convincing the U.S. Coast Guard that the requirement was inappropriate for charter boat operators. This win saves charter boat operators up to $500 each.
FCC Licensing Fee Elimination
NACO succeeded in eliminating the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) licensing fees for un-inspected vessel operators. The fees were first reduced from $115 to $75, and then eliminated altogether.
NACO succeeded at having the procedure simplified when charter boat operators need a waiver of the "Jones Act" rules. NACO worked to pass legislation, which creates an administrative program for vessels of foreign hulls to apply for a documentation waiver. Now, the industry will no longer have to go to Congress to obtain a waiver.
Sinker Ban Blocked
NACO convinced Congress to pass an amendment that would block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from seeking to ban the sale and use of lead, zinc or brass fishing lures and sinkers.
Home Office Tax Deduction
Through NACO's efforts, most charter boat operators are now allowed to deduct the cost of an office at their home. Previously, charter boat operators could not deduct the cost of a home office even if that was the location where they made calls for fishing trips and stored fishing gear and records because a charter boat operator's main place of business was considered on the water. Now, the cost of a home office is deductible if the office is used exclusively for key managerial functions such as billing, marketing, bookings, etc. and there is no other place to perform such duties.