Charter and head boats have formed the backbone of the sportfishing industry in the Mid-Atlantic region for more than a century. These vessels and their operators have played an important role in the tourism economies and maritime heritage of many coastal communities.
Today, the charter boat industry is faced with ever-changing fisheries regulations, legal issues, and fluctuating public demand. To assist the industry in addressing these challenges, the Sea Grant programs in the Mid-Atlantic region — including New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina — are hosting a series of charter boat workshops along the coast.
The Delaware/Maryland Charter Boat Workshop is set for Thursday, March 13, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Harrison’s Harbor Watch Restaurant, 806 South Boardwalk, in Ocean City, Maryland. Organized by the Sea Grant programs at the University of Delaware and the University of Maryland, the workshop will focus on business, safety, and fishery resource issues pertaining to Delaware and Chesapeake Bay sportfisheries and offshore chartering.
“We encourage all charter and head boat owners and captains to attend, as well as those interested in entering the industry,” says John Ewart, Delaware Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service specialist. “It’s a great opportunity for boat owners to come together to discuss mutual challenges.”
Highlighting the first half of the workshop is “Fishing for Hire — Charter Boat Business and Marketing.” This session will include individual presentations and a panel discussion on small business marketing and finance, off-season marketing options, and admiralty law. In the second morning session, “Current Coast Guard Safety and Insurance Concerns,” the local (5th) Coast Guard District and a representative from the Tawes Insurance Company will cover vessel safety, equipment requirements, insurance, and other related issues.
Following lunch, the second half of the workshop will feature “Fisheries Management and Its Impact on Your Business.” A panel discussion on fisheries management will include a presentation on “Fishery Stock Assessments” by a representative from the National Marine Fisheries Service. Representatives from Delaware and Maryland natural resource agencies will provide updates on their artificial reef programs and will review new regulatory developments and other state issues. The workshop will conclude with a round-table discussion involving charter boat captains from Maryland and Delaware, focusing on local topics and concerns.
Registration for the workshop, which includes lunch and resource materials, is $25 per person. To register, make your check payable to “University of Delaware” and mail it to University of Delaware Sea Grant Program, 700 Pilottown Road, Lewes, DE 19958 — ATTN: Charter Boat Workshop. The registration deadline is Friday, March 7.
For more information, contact John Ewart, Delaware Sea Grant, at (302) 645-4060, or e-mail him at email@example.com.