I have been receiving a lot of questions about booked charter trips and the current Pandemic.
The short answer is that I do not know when we will be able to start running charters. I will be issuing refunds for deposits on trips that I have to cancel due to the Pandemic. I have copied/paraphrased an email that a colleague issued to the MD Charter Captains. It covers the details of our industry’s regulators and rules as they pertain to the current crisis…..
The DNR bulletin that went out after the Governor’s Stay-at-Home order was released on March 30, 2020. This bulletin states that the charter fishery will be open in Maryland and that fishing for food will be permitted. However, as charter boats we are governed by: the Federal Government, the United States Coast Guard, the State of Maryland and common sense. Both State and Federal CDC guidelines PROHIBIT any non-family member to be within 6 feet of each other. This is impossible to do on most fishing boats. Secondly, State and Federal CDC guidelines PROHIBIT any group larger than 10 people. (This one doesn’t directly affect LHCF since we are restricted to a maximum of 6 customers plus Captain & mate.) Of course, this is assuming when we return to the marina that no one else is there. Businesses (including many marinas) are limited to 10 people including employees.
Next, State and Federal CDC guidelines REQUIRE any piece of equipment that changes hands in public to be disinfected. For example, when a mate puts out a fishing rod, a fish hits, mate grabs rod, the rod needs to be disinfected before handing off to the customer. As of now under Maryland’s Stay-at-Home order, charter boats technically fall under Public Transportation, which means taking passengers’ temperatures prior to boarding and disinfecting the marine toilet after each use.
Lastly, there is the matter of our insurance policies which add further complications to the matter.
Naturally, the safety of my family, my mate, and my customers will drive my decisions going forward. We will run our operation when it is both legal and safe to do so.
Capt. Scott Singleton
Last Hurrah Charter Fishing LLC