Fishing Regulations -Permits- Charter Boat and Commercial Fishing Vessel Requirements

Charter Boat and Commercial Fishing Vessel Check List 

This page is assist provide charter boats with the information needed to meet USCG requirements and to have the necessary permits and documentation to conduct fishing charters in federal waters. It is up to those individuals using this list to double check the regulations in case they have been updated more recently than this list.

The link below is a checklist of the requirements for an Operator Of Uninspected Passenger Vessels, Often called Six Packs developed by the U.S. Coast Guard.  It is an excellent resource with information on drug testing, licensing, and safety requirements.  Captains of charter boats may want to use this at the beginning of the season to make sure they are in compliance.

Requirements For OPUV (Six Pack)

Charter Boat Inspection Check List

Commercial Fishing Vessel Requirements Checklist

The link below provides all of the information for licensing weather you are a launch tender or a Master of Oceans, Unlimited Horsepower.  It is highly recommended anyone applying for an original or renewal Merchant Mariner Credential go through the website carefully especially documenting sea time and the medical forms.  Also please note the ten most common discrepancies which result in an application being returned.

National Maritime Center Licensing

Owners of vessels which must be documented or renewal of documentation can find the information needed below.  Remember your documentation will be required to have a Coastwide Trade endorsement for carrying passengers for hire and if you sell fish a Fisheries endorsement.

USCG Regional Exam Center, Boston, MA

USCG Regional Exam Center is located at  Coast Guard Base in Boston, MA at 455 Commercial Street, Boston, MA.  This is the location you can pick up a licensing package or drop it off, paying the fees where it will be sent to the National Maritime Center. There is no parking on base allowed however there are lots nearby and public transportation is highly recommended taking the train, subway or boat.

USCG Documentation Center

If you have a vessel that is not documented and registered, you will find information on the Massachusetts Environmental Police Page.  Here you will find other information related to fishing and hunting laws also.  Your boat will have to display the registration numbers and sticker, similar to an automobile on the hull making sure it is up to date

Massachusetts Environmental Police

Anyone who takes paying passengers on a charter boat fishing targeting Northeast Multi Species (Groundfish) will be required to hold a Federal Fishery Permit with the endorsements you catch.  These include Northeast Multi Species (Groundfish), Black Sea Bass, Tilefish, Bluefish, and others.  If you fish in the Western Gulf of Maine Closed Area or others you will need a Letter of Authorization (LOA) to fish in these areas on a charter.  The link below will provide you with the Federal Fishery Permit Application and Renewal information along with obtaining an LOA.  If you have questions, you should contact the a Fishery Permit Specialist listed on the website.

Federal Fishery Permits for Groundfish and Other Species 

Anyone who operates a charter vessel targeting the species listed on the Federal Fishery Permit link will be required to have a Federal Operator’s Permit.  These are free of charge and without one you will be issued a violation if boarded by NOAA or the USCG.  It is a simple process which can be done through the mail.

Vessel Operator Permit Application

 If you plan on fishing for tuna, swordfish or sharks on a charter, you are required to have a Highly Migratory Species (HMS) permit.  The link below will take you to the NMFS site where you can apply for a permit, see the latest rules, landings, report your catch and other information for highly migratory species.

Highly Migratory Species Permits (Tuna, Shark, Swordfish)

If you are a charter boat in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, You will be required to have a charter boat endorsement from the Division of Marine Fisheries.  It needs to be renewed annually allows everyone on board who is fishing when a licensed captain is on board to fish and not needing individual fishing licenses.  You can also apply for other licenses such as the commercial license if you plan on selling a tuna or a striped bass.  The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries also posts notices of regulations for fishing in state waters, public hearings and notices on this site.

Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries

Rhode Island Division of Marine Fisheries

Connecticut Department of Marine Fisheries

Are You Ready For The 2017 Season, Permits, License Requirements

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Are You Ready For The 2017 Season