Charter and head boats have played a significant role in the tourism industry and maritime heritage of communities along the Mid-Atlantic coast for over a century. Today, however, charter boat operators are faced with ever-changing fisheries regulations, legal issues, and fluctuating public demand.
To assist the industry in addressing these concerns, the Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia Sea Grant programs will host the Delmarva Charter Boat Workshop on Wednesday, March 31, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Harrison’s Harbor Watch Restaurant, 806 South Boardwalk, in Ocean City, Maryland.
The workshop will focus on business, safety, and fishery resource issues pertaining to Delaware and Chesapeake Bay sportfisheries and offshore chartering. It will build on a successful workshop that Sea Grant sponsored in Ocean City last year.
"Fifty charter boat captains attended our 2003 workshop and gave us a lot of positive comments and suggestions that we’re incorporating into the 2004 program,” says John Ewart, aquaculture and fisheries specialist for the University of Delaware Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service.
“We encourage all charter and head boat owners and captains to attend, as well as those interested in entering the industry,” Ewart notes. “It’s a great opportunity for boat owners to come together to discuss mutual issues and challenges.”
"Business Management and Admiralty Law” will highlight the first half of the workshop. Back by popular demand, Baltimore attorney Stephen White will review a variety of legal and maritime law issues of importance to charter operators. Jeff Pruitt, a certified public accountant in Ocean City, will provide valuable insight on accounting practices and tax issues. Jay Tawes, from the Tawes Insurance Company in Crisfield, Maryland, will review insurance requirements and how to obtain the best coverage for charter businesses.
In the second morning session, “Current Coast Guard Safety Concerns,” representatives from the local, 5th Coast Guard District and the Ocean City Coast Guard Station will address vessel safety, equipment requirements, homeland security, and other related issues.
Following lunch, the second half of the workshop will feature “Fisheries Management: What It Means for Your Business.” This session will include a discussion, led by Dan Furlong, executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, on understanding federal, regional, and state fishery regulatory policies. Professor John Graves, from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, will review current research on marlin mortalities, the use of circle hooks, and the current state of affairs concerning marlin and the Endangered Species Act. Nicole Bartlett will review the status of a “for hire” fishing survey program conducted by NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service.
The workshop will conclude with a round-table discussion for Delmarva charter boat captains on local topics and concerns.
Registration for the workshop, which includes lunch and resource materials, is $30 per person. On-site registration will be taken as space allows, but the fee will increase to $35. 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 19.
For more information, visit this Web site http://www.ocean.udel.edu/getinvolved/lectures-workshops.shtml or contact John Ewart, Delaware Sea Grant, at (302) 645-4060 or firstname.lastname@example.org.