Hurricane Michael Assistance for Charterboat Operators and Crews
The following information was provided by Captain Bob Zales II, President National Association of Charterboat Operators.
A lot has changed since Hurricane Michael hit our area in October. Recovery progress is being made as we continue to see debris piles removed and structures repaired. This area is a prime for-hire charter, headboat, and guide fishing area drawing recreational anglers from all parts of the country every year. As a result of the severe devastation many charter, headboats, and guide boats were damaged. Some were completely lost, others were severely damaged to the point where it may be months before they are back in service, and some had damage but able to operate now. In addition, many of the marinas where these boats operate from suffered severe damage. It will take months to repair these marinas resulting in limited areas to operate from. Several organizations are working to provide assistance.
The National Association of Charter-boat Operators (NACO) with help from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is providing assistance to all Florida State and Federal Licensed For Hire Charter and Headboat owners, operators, and crewmembers affected by Hurricane Michael from Steinhatchee, FL to Panama City Beach, FL.
NACO has many Florida members. It is a 501 (c)(6) non-profit membership association representing Charterboat and Headboat owners and operators across the Nation. NACO and the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) have partnered to provide some financial help to those in the most need due to the impacts of Hurricane Michael. The IFGA is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization and they have created the Worldwide Anglers Relief Fund (WARF). The IGFA collects donations for this fund to be distributed to those anglers in most need of financial help due to disasters in their area. The IGFA contacted NACO a few days after Hurricane Michael devastated much of the Panhandle area to join with them to distribute these funds. In addition, NACO is seeking financial donations to add to the WARF funds and have those funds sent to the IGFA so they may be tax deductible depending on jurisdiction.
To receive assistance, complete an application electronically or fax the form to NACO at 877-263-8548. NACO established a review committee of 3 NACO Board Members who will review the Applications to find those in most need of receiving funds. You do not have to be a member of NACO to receive help – you just need to have been working in the for-hire charter, headboat, or guide industry in the affected areas of Michael.
For more information about the program or assistance contact NACO at 866-981-5136 or firstname.lastname@example.org.