Show All » 2008 » Recent

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Beware the UUCO!

    What I am about to review has most likely been covered several times in the annals of charter fishing history. Usually the discussions are between charter captains and once talks are completed nothing happens. The topic gets shelved only to be resurrected another day. What I am talking about is the unlicensed and uninsured charter operator. (UUCO) They are out there and they are willing to conduct illegal operations simply because they do not wish to do what it takes to become licensed and make the financial commitment. They are cheaters and their actions are illegal.

    A USCG certified Captain has passed a rigid physical examination, a comprehensive written exam, has provide documented detail of on water experience over the past several years and repeats entire process every five years. Additionally, he or she must purchase a Transportation Worker ID card, which includes finger printing, and more background checks. Liability insurance is required to the tune of a minimum of one million dollars of coverage, renewable on a yearly basis. Depending on the insurer, periodic vessel certified boat survey inspections could be required. 

     Special safety equipment includes USCG approved life jackets with special batteries or light sticks for night visibility, USCG approved rescue throw rings, dated flares, and fire extinguishers. In addition the licensed captain must be enrolled in an USCG approved drug test program, requiring periodic random testing.

   These requirements are only one part of the licensed charter operator's make up. While being a good fisherman is not limited to charter captains, time on the water adds plenty to the good fisherman culture. Sure there are really good non-charter fishermen but it is damn hard to find a licensed operator who is not a top quality angler. It is what they do and they do it well.

  Most charters use a mate to add to their fish catching abilities and more importantly the overall safety of their customers. I personally would want a mate aboard if I were booking a trip. If your captain goes over the side the mate will know what to do or not to do. The right split second decisions can mean the difference between life and death. Like they say, "stuff happens."

  Is the boat fit to do battle with Lake Ontario's sometimes rough seas and is the crew really familiar with proper boat handling on those choppy days especially if a mechanical failure occurs? It seems to me that an acceptable vessel should be at least 26' in length with a 9' beam. Bigger is definitely better. On second thought a 28' vessel probably should be the minimum size. Experience is crucial, and the more experience in a mixed bag of weather conditions, the better the safety factor becomes.

  I could go on and on, but here is the bottom line, a USCG certified captain has played by the rules for your benefit and he or she has spent the bucks required to comply and those bucks can be considerable. The UUC operator takes advantage of the situation when prices undercutting the professional are offered. When the Captain's price is undercut by the UUCO, (unlicensed, uninsured, charter operator), he or she loses and so do you.

  Now why did I say captains talk but nothing usually happens? The proof is in the pudding and the pudding is hard to prove. Hearsay doesn't work in a court of law. Sometimes an undercover sting operation does. I'm just sayin.

 Fish with a pro, a USCG licensed individual. Might cost more, but like they say, "you get what you pay for."  Oh yeah, I almost forgot, "it is still great to be a Lake Ontario troller."


Posted By: Capn Gerry Bresadola @ 6:42:04 PM


« Go Back

RSS Help  

Send to Friend

Use the form below to send a private email message to the author.
*Recipients email address:
*Recipients name:
*Senders name:
*Senders email address:
*Email subject:
*Email message: