New guide helps charter captains navigate regulations

By Rhett Register

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Running a guide business in Florida involves more than leading clients to fish. It also means steering through the complicated world of licenses, permits and safety regulations.

Recently, Betty Staugler, a UF/IFAS Extension Florida Sea Grant agent based in Charlotte County, worked with Ralph Allen, charter captain with King Fisher Fleet, and Edward Camp of the UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation to create a quick-reference guide to regulations for Florida’s charter captains.

“This guide is for new and veteran fishing guides, as well as those thinking about establishing a guide business,” Staugler said. “It is will help them learn about and access local, state and federal requirements related to operating a for-hire fishing business.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, regional fisheries management councils, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, U.S. Coast Guard, Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, and local governments are just some of the entities that have requirements related to fishing-guide businesses. The four-page guide — broken down by fishing location, target species and vessel type — lists the rules and where they can be found.

The guide was developed as part of the Florida Friendly Fishing Guide Certification program, an online class established by UF/IFAS, Florida Sea Grant and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to recognize fishing guides who are committed to preserving Florida’s fisheries through sustainable boating and fishing techniques.

To access the guide, visit the “Program Materials” section of the Florida Friendly Fishing Guide Certification program webpage at


By Rhett Register,, 352-294-0760

The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. Visit the UF/IFAS website at and follow us on social media at @UF_IFAS.

The Florida Sea Grant program, hosted at UF/IFAS, is a university-based program that supports research, education and Extension to conserve coastal resources and enhance economic opportunities for the people of Florida. In addition to UF/IFAS, the program is a partnership between Florida universities, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and county governments.


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Posted: December 19, 2019

Category: Coasts & Marine, Recreation
Tags: Betty Staugler, Charlotte County, Charter Boats, Fishing, Fishing Guide, Florida Sea Grant, UF/IFAS Extension

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