NACO CoVid19 Safety Measures for Consideration

NACO Captains and Affiliates:
The National Association of Charterboat Operators is the voice of the for hire charter boat industry in the United States. As such the NACO Board of Directors has produced the following suggestions about the Covid-19 virus issue as we understand it at this time. It provides general advice, based on input from across the USA, for charter boats - fishing, diving, sailing, sightseeing, dinner cruising, eco tours, and any other vessel - carrying passengers for hire. 
This is not a one size fits all recommendation on how each operator should work to ensure the safety of passengers and crew. Even though many operations are similar, every operation is different and unique.  
Some states and marine resource agencies have issued required guidelines which owners in those areas have to comply. These vary widely. Some states, counties and municipalities have simply implied owners should follow CDC guidelines. In others, strict rules have been dictated for charter boat operators to follow. In addition, some local charter associations have developed guidelines for their members which should also be followed the best they can.
NACO recommends each member develop a written protocol on how to ensure your vessel and equipment remains safe and uninfected. This should include:
1)    How you will sanitize any area where customers and crew could be exposed including the boat, equipment, gear, booking booth or others.
2)    List how you intend to disinfect and clean before, during and after each trip.
3)    List what personal cleaning agents (hand sanitizer, hand soap, etc) will be available for use. 
4)    If you intend to check body temperature of customers and crew list how and when that will be done. 
5)    If you require the use of masks, list if the customer should provide their own or if you will provide them and when to wear them. 
6)    List how you plan to ensure social distancing where possible to keep customers separated.
7)    Once you have developed your guidelines, print them out and post them on your vessel and work place. Have printed copies available to provide to customers should they ask for one.
8)    Develop a basic orientation similar to your normal safety orientation you use before departing. 
NACO members from across the country have provided input and we know in some areas specific requirements by government authorities are treated only as “suggestions” while in others, the leaders may order arrests for non-compliance. You know your own situation better than anyone. You should make the decision on what is best for your particular operation. Clearly, charters of family groups or groups of friends can be handled differently than strangers or groups of non-related people.
The most critical issue here is your potential liability should an accident or medical issue come up. Check your marine insurance policy liability section, or call your agent to determine if your coverage depends on following federal, state, or local regulations. Insurance companies are notorious for looking for an out on payment for any accident or liability. Be certain of what your policy states.
We hope this information is helpful. If you have any questions, please contact us. In many cases, especially at the state and local level, individuals or representatives of local charter associations have been able to affect changes or exceptions to Executive Orders or other general rules concocted by bureaucrats and political leaders, simply by contacting them politely. If you would like additional support at your local or state level, feel free to contact NACO and make us aware of your problem. We will be happy to provide a letter of support or make a phone call to whomever to help with your situation.
Thank you, stay healthy, stay safe.
NACO Board of Directors

Notice: Lead Sinker Ban Issue

NOTICE of ISSUE: Lead Sinker Ban
"I have seen references to your organization’s previous opposition to proposals to ban use of lead fishing tackle.
The Interior Appropriation bill previously included a prohibition on this proposed regulation, however, the FY 20 House Interior Appropriations bill excluded this language and would allow the federal government to ban lead fishing tackle. While such a ban or regulation may not move forward immediately, it will be more difficult to reinstitute the protective language if it is removed in the final funding bill later this year.
If you have a position or statement relevant to this issue please let me know.
Thank you.
John Dutton
Office of rep. harris"
“All, John Dutton with Rep Andy Harris’s office has requested letters from your respective assns, supporting keeping language in legislation that will continue to allow the use of lead sinkers, jigs, and other fishing tackle when fishing. Apparently the language that protects being able to continue to use lead products has been removed from proposed legislation and there could be another move to ban the use of lead products while fishing. This was an issue back in 2010 and NACO, the MD Charter Assn and others were successful in having legislation passed that protected the use of lead products. Feel free to use any or all of the content from the attached NACO letter.
Capt Bob Zales, II “
Click the following link to download NACO's comment letter: Lead sinker Ban

Executive Order Regarding the Ocean Policy

NACO is pleased to announce that today President Trump issued an Executive Order Regarding the Ocean Policy to Advance the Economic, Security, and Environmental Interests of the United States, which includes a revocation of the 2010 National Ocean Policy Executive Order issued by then President Obama.

President Capt. Bob Zales, II stated; “In the Gulf, as well as all areas of the country, in recent years recreational and commercial fishermen have been over-regulated and negatively impacted in every arena.  The National Ocean Policy was an unforced error created by a stroke of the pen that added to those burdens by needlessly draining resources and energy away from what our industries should and need to be focused on, which is generating economic activity and providing recreational and commercial opportunities and enjoyment of our natural resources, all under the oversight of responsible regulation as authorized by Congress. 

By taking this action, the President has removed a significant threat to the survival of our industry -- the potential for new and expanded regulatory requirements, more regulatory burdens, and increased costs to our businesses as a result of the National Ocean Policy -- while focusing on priorities that will pave the way for a more prosperous future and ocean economy.”

To Read the Executive Order please Click Here

VIDA Myths vs Facts!

From American Waterways Operators

VIDA is a commonsense, bipartisan solution to an urgent problem. But myths about VIDA are keeping Congress from acting.

33869731 1905924172753248 5919366503358005248 oGet the facts. #PassVIDA #VIDAisVital


NACO-USCG_Serious Marine Incident & Reportable Marine Casualty

NACO has been involved in working with the USCG to modify the current reporting requirements for anyone involved in a reportable marine casualty property damage incident and the changes in serious marine Incident (SMI) property damage threshold.  The current financial requirements for reporting a marine casualty damage incident is only $25,000 and the financial threshold is $100,000.  These figures were established years ago.  In addition, the crew involved in a SMI is also subject to immediate drug and alcohol testing.

This new rule will take effect on April 18, 2018.  It modifies the financial requirements from $25,000 to $75,000 in property damages and from $100,000 to $200,000 in the threshold.  These new figures represent the increases in inflation since the original figures were established.  What this rule does is reduce the reportable accidents which reduces the potential burden on all passenger vessels and will also reduce the potential for mandatory drug and alcohol testing of the crews involved in such accidents.  NACO has worked with other passenger vessel associations and the USCG to have this new rule implemented.

This is just one more in a long history of benefits that NACO provides our members.  This rule will reduce the regulatory burden and potential expense for all passenger carrying vessels.

Here is the Federal Register notice.

Capt. Bob Zales, II


Capt. Bob Zales, II

NACO goes to Ohio

Captains Bob Zales, II, Mike Schoonveld, representing NACO & Gallagher Charter Lakes Mark VanEpps
at the OHIO Charter Boat Captains Conference March 10th - had a great turn-out even with the colder weather.

IMG 3752

IMG 3750

Modern Fish Act Takes Major Step Toward Becoming Law

To All Media
Sara Leonard
202-543-6850 x 11
Modern Fish Act Takes Major Step Toward Becoming Law

The Senate Commerce Committee Passes Landmark Legislation with Bipartisan Support
February 28, 2018 (Washington, DC) - Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation overwhelmingly approved S. 1520, the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017 (Modern Fish Act). This legislation calls for critically important updates to the oversight of federal fisheries, including adding more tools to the management toolbox, improving data collection techniques, and examining some fishery allocations that are based on decades-old decisions.
The Modern Fish Act was introduced in the Senate in July 2017 by Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.). It has since received strong bipartisan support from 12 cosponsors representing coastal and non-coastal states alike. In addition, a broad coalition of organizations representing the saltwater recreational fishing and boating community has endorsed the Modern Fish Act and highlighted the importance of updating the nation's fisheries management system to more accurately distinguish between recreational and commercial fishing.
"The bipartisan leadership on display today in the Senate Commerce Committee will not soon be forgotten by America's 11 million saltwater recreational anglers," said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy. "We want to thank our many champions in Congress, particularly Sens. Wicker and Nelson, for recognizing the need for serious reforms to the broken federal fisheries management system. We look forward to working with congressional leaders in both chambers to get this legislation across the finish line."
Through years of deliberation, the priorities of the recreational fishing and boating community were identified and presented to federal policy makers by the Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management. This group is also referred to as the Morris-Deal Commission, named for co-chairs Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops, and Scott Deal, president of Maverick Boat Group. In 2014, the Morris-Deal Commission released "A Vision for Managing America's Saltwater Recreational Fisheries," which included six key policy changes to expand saltwater recreational fishing's social, economic and conservation benefits to the nation.
Many recommendations of the Morris-Deal Commission are addressed by the legislation passed today by the Senate Commerce Committee.
"Today's action by the Commerce Committee is further evidence that Congress recognizes the economic and societal impact that recreational saltwater fishing has on our nation," said Mike Nussman, president and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association. "There are 11 million saltwater anglers in the U.S. who have a $63 billion economic impact annually and generate 440,000 jobs. We applaud the Senate Commerce Committee for taking this important step and call for the full Senate to quickly take action on this legislation."
"For too long, the federal fisheries management system has limited access for America's recreational anglers and boaters due to faulty data and misguided regulations, which in turn has jeopardized the economic vitality of the recreational boating industry," said Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. "On behalf of the estimated 650,000 workers the recreational boating industry supports, we are eager to continue working with our allies in both chambers of Congress to get this important legislation to the president's desk."
"The bipartisan vote taken by the Senate Commerce Committee today demonstrates the nation's broad support for federal fisheries management reform," said Patrick Murray, president of Coastal Conservation Association. "We are proud to work with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to advance a common-sense policy that remains true to our conservation goals while promoting access to our nation's healthy natural resources. We look forward to this important bill receiving quick consideration by the full Senate."
"We thank Chairman Thune and Sens. Wicker and Nelson, as well as the large bipartisan group of Modern Fish Act cosponsors, for their leadership on this issue," said Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation. "The Modern Fish Act is a top priority for saltwater anglers across the United States and charts a clear course for effective recreational fisheries management.  I encourage Congress to use the momentum from today's Committee vote to secure quick passage in both chambers."
"The Modern Fish Act represents five years' worth of input from our community and will increase the level of trust between America's 11 million saltwater anglers and federal fisheries managers," said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. "Recreational hunters and anglers have been at the forefront of resource conservation in this country for more than a century, and the Modern Fish Act gives recreational anglers an opportunity to continue to lead in conservation by improving upon data collection and stock assessments. We're extremely encouraged to see these updated management approaches tailored to meet the unique needs of recreational fishing, rather than forcing recreational seasons into a management scheme designed for commercial fisheries."
"We owe great thanks to Senator Wicker for introducing the Modern Fish Act to finally address the specific needs of recreational anglers under federal law," said Jim Donofrio, president of the Recreational Fishing Alliance. "We want to thank Chairman John Thune and Ranking Member Bill Nelson for their leadership in bringing this important bill to a vote in the Commerce Committee today. The bipartisan spirit we are witnessing in this Committee is refreshing, and we look forward to final action by the full Senate and House."
On December 13, 2017, the Modern Fish Act (H.R. 2023) was approved by the House Natural Resources Committee as part of H.R. 200. 
Following today's vote, the coalition encourages Senate leadership to quickly bring S. 1520 to the floor for final passage. Marine recreational anglers and boaters are eager to see this landmark legislation move through the House and Senate and signed into law.

Overfishing: Magnuson-Stevens Act

So that everyone has a better understanding of how the enviro groups such as pew, Oceana, environmental defense fund, and the edf puppet commercial and charter fishing assns are controlling our nations fisheries and putting fishermen, local fish houses, and supporting businesses out of business as well as adversely affecting local fishing communities here is an excellent article by Nils Stolpe that explains a lot. Everyone should encourage their respective Congressmen and Women to fully support HR 200 today. This bill will help fix the what the enviros work so hard to destroy.  HR200 will add the flexibility we have sought for so many years to the MSA.  

Everyone needs to support these bills.


I was given permission to share this info.  Please share.

The Magnuson-Stevens amendment I want under the Christmas tree

Nils E. Stolpe/FishNet USA

© 2018  Nils E. Stolpe

February 23, 2018

OVERFISHING! This has become one of the oceans branch of the doom and gloom prognisticator’s (aka Environmental Non Governmental Organizations or ENGOs) principal calls for alms. To wit, they have collectively raked in hundreds of millions of dollars from big business-supported foundations and trusting members of the public to persecute (generally commercial) fishermen who they preach are the cause of “overfishing,” the major threat to the sanctity of the oceans. (I’ll note here that the Pew “Charitable” Trusts was the multibillion dollar foundation that initiated the war on fishermen. The Trusts were and are controlled by the family of the founder of Sun Oil/Sunoco, Joseph Pew. Oceana, which has received $63 million from the Pew Trusts, is the ENGO that was among the first to persecute traditional fishermen. Oceana was spawned by Earthjustice, which has received at least $23 million from Pew. Pew has also funded various commercial fishing groups to the tune of millions of dollars to support various Pew priorities (see and for some early history of Pew’s entry into fishing. Other industry-influenced mega-foundations have followed in Pew’s footsteps – I’ve listed the foundations and their level of funding of ENGOs that were and are involved in destroying the traditional domestic fishing industry up until 2010 at ).

Obviously overfishing means catching too many fish, catching so many that a population of fish can’t replace itself (a population that is replacing itself is “sustainable.”).

But in actual fact there are a myriad of reasons why a stock of fish might not be able to replace itself, with overfishing being only one of these reasons. Changing ocean temperatures, oceanic/climatic oscillations (think El Niño and La Niña or the Atlantic Multidecadel Oscillation), the proliferation of electromagnetic fields from undersea electrical or data transmission cables, un- or inadequately controlled coastal development, natural or anthropogenic pollution, or any number of other factors, singularly or in combination, might well be preventing particular fish stocks from being capable of sustaining themselves. But adequate research on the effects of these other factors isn’t being done because now all the blame falls on “overfishing.”

Chances are that those ENGOs that have raised so many millions of dollars, gotten a tremendous amount of media attention, and convinced a significant part of both the national and international seafood markets that sustainable harvesting of fish and shellfish is only possible by controlling fishing would rather that the other factors affecting seafood sustainability be kept far beneath the public’s and the pol’s attention threshold. Ditto for the mega-industries that support them and are often responsible for non-fishing factors that negatively impact seafood sustainability. It’s to their vast benefit to keep the focus on “overfishing,” because then it isn’t on what they’re doing.

When the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the federal legislation that controls just about all of the aspects of fishing in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone was originally written in 1975-76 it contained the terms “overfishing” or “overfished” a total of seven times.

When the Act was reauthorized in 1996 as the Sustainable Fisheries Act, thanks to ENGO pressure “overfishing” or “overfished” were used 36 times. From the Definitions section “The terms ‘overfishing’ and ‘overfished’ mean a rate or level of fishing mortality that jeopardizes the capacity of a fishery to produce the maximum sustainable yield on a continuing basis.”

Thanks to the efforts of the ENGOs, the corporations (or the corporate heirs) that control them through massive donations to a network of “charitable” foundations and a few fishermen’s organizations that they fund, “overfishing” was well on its way to becoming the primary sin being committed on the 72% of the Earth that is covered by salt water.

This purposeful misuse of the term “overfishing” has been one of the most subtle and most effective weapons in the anti-fishing activists’ arsenal.

In order to change this, to insure that non-fishing factors that negatively impact fish stocks are properly identified, in Congressman Don Young’s H.R. 200, the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act, fish and shellfish stocks whose sustainability is being threatened by fishing will still be identified as overfished but those whose sustainability is threatened by non-fishing factors will be labelled as depleted.

This will have the joint benefits of allowing (if possible) measures to be taken that will address those non-fishing factors and putting the onus of overfishing only on those fisheries that are actually being threatened by overfishing, rather than on every fishery in which there aren’t enough fish regardless of the reason.

Of course, like every other attempt to remove unnecessary and ineffectual regulatory burdens from fishermen, the anti-fishing ENGOs, the fishing organizations they support, and the foundations that support them object to this change, though there’s no reason involving the health of our fish stocks that they should. What such a change would do, however, is start directing attention to those non-fishing factors that threaten our fish stocks that shouldn’t be allowed to – surely something that will be opposed in any way possible by those foundation-supporting industries seeking the unconstrained control of the world’s oceans and who has access to them.

Fishermen have been unjustly bearing the responsibility for unsustainable fisheries, when the reason for that unsustainability has nothing to do with fishing for far too long and Congressman Young’s amendment will effectively end this anti-fishing ENGO engineered charade. The motivation of any group, organization or individual opposing this must be questioned, and questioned loudly and persistently.

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

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 Questions specifically concerning survival craft type approvals should be directed to the Office of Design and Engineering Standards, Commandant (CG-ENG) at


USCG Notices 02-2016...Maps/Strainers

Electronic Charts and Publication NVIC 01-16

News Release

February 08, 2016
U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters
Contact: Headquarters Public Affairs
Office: (202) 372-4630

US Coast Guard approves official electronic charts

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Coast Guard published guidance Feb. 5 that allows mariners to use electronic charts and publications instead of paper charts, maps and publications.

The Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular, NVIC 01-16 establishes uniform guidance on what is now considered equivalent to chart and publication carriage requirements.

Combining the suite of electronic charts from the U.S. hydrographic authorities and the Electronic Charting System (ECS) standards published this past summer by the Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services, the Coast Guard believes official electronic charts provide mariners with a substitute for the traditional official paper charts. 

“After consultation with our Navigation Safety Advisory Committee, the Coast Guard will allow mariners to use official electronic charts instead of paper charts, if they choose to do so. With real-time voyage planning and monitoring information at their fingertips, mariners will no longer have the burden of maintaining a full portfolio of paper charts,” said Capt. Scott J. Smith, the chief of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Office of Navigation Systems.

The new guidance applies to vessels subject to U.S. chart, or map, and publication carriage requirements codified in Titles 33 and 46 CFR and provides a voluntary alternative means to comply with those requirements.

“Mariners have been requesting the recognition of this capability for some time,” said Smith. “When you combine the new expanded Automatic Identification System carriage requirement and the capability that an ECS provides, it should provide a platform to move American waterways into the 21st century.”

This technology will also allow mariners to take advantage of information and data to enhance situational awareness during voyage planning and while underway.

“Together, with our industry and international partners, we are leveraging modern technology to contribute to the safety, security and prosperity of our nation,” said Smith.

 View NVIC 01-16 at:


Nonmetallic Sea Strainer Use on Small Passenger Vessels

The US Coast Guard issued a policy letter concerning sea strainers constructed of nonmetallic materials for use on small passenger vessels.

Sea strainers containing nonmetallic components have been installed on small passenger vessels for several decades without incident. However, the regulations were amended to require vital piping systems to be made of a ferrous material on board ”new” small passenger vessels. 

Marine inspectors continue to discover nonmetallic sea strainers on ”new” small passenger vessels. These strainers are typically found in raw water cooling systems but may also be installed within other systems. The notion that they represent a potential ”weak link” in a piping system due to the possibility of failure from mechanical or fire damage, which would result in the loss of the affected vital system and potentially result in uncontrollable flooding, simply hasn’t materialized for small passenger vessels. In fact, vessel operators have emphasized that these types of strainers have been successfully used for many years without the occurrence of significant mechanical failures, even when vessels had major fires.

To that end, a search of the MISLE database confirms a lack of historical casualty incidents related to these types of installed strainers. Furthermore, there are benefits to the use of nonmetallic or acrylic sea strainers; they provide improved safety by serving as a sight glass to check for adequate cooling water flow which in turn help prevent main engine overheating and propulsion casualties while underway.

Click HERE to read the USCG’s policy letter.