charter fisherman's Association

It is our mission to ensure American public access to fishing, to engage and represent
the Charter for Hire industry, and to ensure long-term sustainability of our fisheries.

CFA Newsroom

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  • 15 Jan 2021 2:12 PM | Gary Jarvis (Administrator)


    Brian Knapp – head of USCG investigations for sector St. pete – cell 813-918-7262

                    More than willing to come back to any future meeting to discuss more of the info below!!

                    Offered to attend any future meetings

    Taylor Wright – Enforcement liaison for sector st. pete – 901-574-9728


    Report to USCG command center if its something happening now or living marine resource related (outside of the list that Brian Knapp’s office handles below) - (727) 824-7543

    USCG reporting direct to Brian Knapp’s cell phone IF it applies to the following, including online proof, photos, or video

    Non-licensed operator – improperly licensed operator

    OUPV license taking more than six or OUPV vessel taking more than six

    Inspected vessel taking more than COI

    Not enrolled in drug consortium or not having mate enrolled in consortium. Anyone on your vessel who is in safety sensitive position must be enrolled 1)Also they must have pre employment drug test by consortium (remember to emphasize its pre-employment and enrolling them in consortium when you reach out!)

    2)If they pull anchor or untie dock lines they are safety sensitive and must be enrolled

     3) If they don’t pull anchor, don’t stand watch, don’t ever do anything but bait hooks – not required

     4) EVERY crew member on inspected vessel listed on COI must be enrolled



  • 15 Jan 2021 2:10 PM | Gary Jarvis (Administrator)

    January 13th, 2021 – 6:30pm

    Meeting with Special guests from law enforcement to discuss illegal charter issue rampant along our west coast


    Manny Antonaras – Special agent in charge, south east division -727-824-5344 –

    Matt Walia – Compliance liaison officer – 727-824-5334 –

    Joe Scarpa – Supervisory enforcement officer -  cell 727-743-2326 –

    REPORTING – hotline is BEST – (800)853-1964

                    If happening now, they will call back

                    If happened in past or online tip they often will not follow up, but you can request call back

                    Most is covert operations for following up

                    Very little overt action and patrols due to 12 officers covering from NC to Texas including Caribbean


    Captain Scott Pearce – Statewide investigations & marine law – cell 850-528-4546

    Major Roger Young – Regional Commander – cell 813-376-6418 –

    Captain Bill Holcomb – cell 813-244-5161 -

    FROM MAJOR ROGER YOUNG: Please feel free to have anyone call either myself or Captain Holcomb then we will direct them to right person for their area or get them the cell phone numbers for the Lieutenants and or Officers.  They work shift work so we try not give their numbers out in mass but put mine and the Captains numbers out there and we will connect them.  Also, our dispatch center is 24-7 and can put anyone in direct contact with any officer or Lieutenant that is on duty 813-558-5050 or 888-404-3922. 

    Lt George Wells (captain of the gulf sentry) –

    Lt Mike Bibeau (who talked about recent capture of illegal charter)

    Lt Matt Dallarosa –

    REPORTING – hotline is best, but can also follow up online & call local officer contact

                    888-404-3932 hit number 7 – if actively happening this is best option this will contact dispatch

                    Online reporting portal ->

                    If happened in the past or online tip the online portal is great option

                    FWC also recommended following up with local contact if you have one (we will get local’s info for everyone)

                    Finally, when you report to FWC you can request call back they will enjoy following up, they want to!

                    DON’T USE ASKFWC.COM WEBSITE!!!

  • 14 Jan 2021 1:10 PM | Gary Jarvis (Administrator)

    Here are the latest resources to use -> to make etrips account

    You either choose personal or company account. If a company look at how its listed on your permit and make sure to use exact spelling and punctuation – if personal, have the permit holders info & birthdate ready

    support number – 800-984-0810

    support email –

  -> to make VESL account

    You need will your ‘official number’ from your permit & the birthdate from the permit to make account, if a corporation owns permit, then you use the date listed on sunbiz

    support number – 202-883-8375

    support email –

    SERO contact if your account is pending – Alicia -

    Sefhier program contact info

    The helpline is: 1-833-707-1632

    The email is:

    Gulf of Mexico ELB Resource Sheet

    NOAA Fisheries Gulf ELB website:

    Hotline: 1-833-707-1632


    Gulf Council links and instructional videos:

    This link also includes 3 instructional videos on the electronic logbooks. 

      Informative blog by University of Florida and Sea grant Agent, Michael Sipos on the reporting requirements.


    Reporting software and account creation:

    eTrips Account Information:

    Support number – 800-984-0810

    Support email –

    Notes: you either choose personal or company account and then if company look at how it's listed on your permit and make sure to use exact spelling and punctuation – if personal, have the permit holders info & birthdate ready.

    VESL Account Information: 

    Support number – 202-883-8375

    Support email – 

    SERO contact if your account remains pending – Alicia -

    Notes: you need your ‘official number’ from your permit & the birthdate from the permit to make account, if corporation owns permit than you use the date listed on sunbiz.


    How to enter a hail out and report in VESL

    Before leaving, open the app and hit 'create a trip' then hit that blue square upper right corner, once done enter your vessel, captain name, departure and return times and return port then click 'done' and then hit the save button upper right corner

    Before offloading fish whether on the ride in or once back at the dock click 'find a trip' look up your 'pending' hail out you made that morning and enter all the other info like number of passengers, what you were targeting, cost of trip etc. and click done and save then scroll down on bottom right hit 'add detail' and then add your species (use the search feature to save time of scrolling) then enter how many you caught and kept and how many you caught and released

    Then once done click done, save and at the bottom should be a green submit button.... unless you have errors, if you have errors it will be red and at the top you can click 'show errors' and then you can fix what they are and then it will let you submit **REMEMBER - when you hail out there will always be errors since your only filling out that very top portions**

    Federal Register for VMS Requirements: FR to allow cellular based units - July 8, 2020 


    Federal Register for ELB final rule: - July 21, 2020








  • 24 Sep 2020 5:29 PM | Gary Jarvis (Administrator)

               CFA Large Fleet and Marina

                       Hurricane Plan

    Our management pays extra close attention to any possible tropical conditions anywhere in the region. Our team watches all storms closely to inform our clients, staff, crew and captains as soon as possible. Advanced communication to guests is important. Utilize auto generated system emails, texts and social media.

    If a possible threat develops, when we are five days out storm watch begins with tropical update schedule which is 8am, 11am, 8pm and 11pm EST. Must start our storm meetings by having daily meetings with updates to follow at each tropical update time. Daily meeting to discuss route of the storm, intensity, affects it will have on our area, and clearly define each of our duties preparing and supplies needed.

    1.    Fueling underground tanks.

    2.    checking hurricane doors, and shutters. Make sure inventory is correct and fasteners are on hand

    3.    Getting hurricane lines out of storage and sizing up.

    4.    Preparing hurricane anchors with ground tackle and pull from storage.

    5.    Checking for new hurricane holes for big boats to hide.

    6.    Take photos and videos of area and put is safe place. 

    7.    Assess current assets and ensure all are properly categorized

    8.    Ensure inventory on rental equipment and retail is up to date with insurance company

    9.    Secure all locations with vital inventory


    Three days out under a tropical storm / hurricane watch start active storm preparations

    1.    Cancel all Charters

    2.    Fuel all boats to the top and fill all the tanks with fresh water.

    3.    Fully load boats with ice so ice machine will make new fresh ice and we have ice stored.

    4.    Load the boats with all equipment lose on the docks, make sure fishing tackle is up to par levels.

    5.    Start moving smaller boats to predetermined and identified storm refuges and tied in a manner to allow the boats to move up and down with the tide and moored to take excessive wind.

    6.    Load the larger party boats with all the perishables foods from all galley storage.

    7.    Add hurricane lines to boats dock lines and put hurricane anchors on board.

    8.    Fill company vehicles with gas, extra diesel tanks filled too.

    9.    Start moving all equipment, computers, and stock up off of floors in marina store and storage area in parking garage. If a high storm surge is expected move equipment to necessary location to avoid damage.

    10. Confirm VHF communication equipment, prepare sat phones for each boat and mangers.

    11. Pass list of emergency phone numbers around with who they are and how they can help.


        Two days out and our area under tropical storm / Hurricane warnings.

    1.     All boats should be moved and secured on storm anchorage

             2.   Remove all free-standing signage, fish mounts, and decorations.

             3.   Lash down or remove bait tanks from dock and store in parking garage.

             4.   Start putting storm shutters up securing windows and doors in the marina    

             5.   Shore up and add water breaks, sandbags, and walls to break waves.

        6.   Shut off fuel system, shut power off, and secure all openings of marina fuel  


        7.   Confirm crews for boats if we need to take boats off the dock.

     Check VHF communications equipment between boats and base station &    satellite phones

        8.  Bring down computer servers and unplug all and secure in safe place.

    Secure all inventory locations with ‘hurricane locks’ to prevent theft during or post storm with keys only to those on site for storm & management.

    • 9.    Lock down main office


    Day of storm:

    1.    Get everyone set where they are riding the storm out, including crews for boats.

    2.    Move vehicles up to high ground.

    3.    Turn power off to the docks & offices


  • 24 Sep 2020 11:08 AM | Gary Jarvis (Administrator)

    CFA Basic Hurricane Plan #2

                             Haul out of water plan

    To whom it may concern

    The vessel  ________________ belonging to  _____________ will be removed from the water during a named storm and placed in position at _________ Marine facility. The vessel's hailing port is ______________ The vessel must be brought to _________ Marine facility by the owner or captain within the pre designated time determined by our facility for it to be hauled out. The vessel _____________ will be hauled out of the water then resting on wooden timbers at the keel and supported by marine jack stands. Additional jack stands will be utilized for wind protection during a tropical storm or hurricane wind event. ______ Marine facility is located ____ miles from Gulf of Mexico access and has rarely been affected by storm surge. Personnel will be monitoring the weather conditions to ensure every precaution is taken in protecting the vessel during the inclement weather.

    Manager/representation of ______marine facility

    Signed _____________________________

    * This is template you can show you marine facility provider as a example of what type of letter you need for your agent/underwriter.

    * As much detail that they can provide for them needs to be encouraged and a copy of the contract you sign with the marine facility should also be included to your agent

  • 24 Sep 2020 11:06 AM | Gary Jarvis (Administrator)

    CFA Basic Hurricane Preparation Plan

                                             In water plan

    Hurricane / Tropical Storm Plan for F/V   __________________ 

    First response to any government evacuation order or hurricane / tropical storm warning / watch is vessel is moved from marina and relocated in a safe Harbor  either in the intercostal water way or bayou / river inland of the Gulf of Mexico out of harm's way. Vessel is moored with 3 or 4 oversize anchors ____ # anchors with ____ ft of chain and ___ inch nylon rope to insure vessel doesnt move or drift into another vessel during /Tropical storm / Hurricane event. Captain (will / will not) stay on vessel during tropical storm or hurricane force winds , but all means available will be implemented to make sure moorings will hold. This plan has been in place since ______

    When using this format, we recommend using anchor size much larger than any anchor you use under normal conditions.

    For most boats 30 to 50 ft consider a minimum of 65# anchors, 50 ft up to 80 ft we recommend minimum 95# anchors and deploy them with a minimum of a 3 point anchor system or preferably a 4 point.

    Anchor rope dia should be a minimum ¾ in for the 65# anchors and 1 in for the 95# anchors. Also anchor rode lengths need to be 7 to 1 or 10 to 1  length of scope to depth of water.

    These are just recommendations and a template for you to use when developing a plan for your insurance carrier and to keep your vessel out of harms way. Please use common sense and caution to any plan. It’s better to be over prepared than under prepared and the additional time and cost to do it right will pale in comparisons to the cost and work to repair or refloat your vessel if you don’t.    

  • 24 Sep 2020 11:05 AM | Gary Jarvis (Administrator)

    CFA Vessel Insurance Discussions

    CFA board of director met today via webinar to discuss issue with marine insurance for our charter fleets gulf wide. As many of you know or have experienced that the availability of insurance companies willing to write marine coverage is getting harder all the time. With that has also come with increased rates each year and seems to be getting worse every time another disaster and storm hits the gulf coast. Insurance is all about risk management and making profit as insurers of personal property and businesses like ours. As claims increase and their balance sheets diminish then they must evaluate who is worth covering and at what expense. Therefore many underwriters have actually quit insuring boats across the board and charter boats in particular. Those that still do must increase their rates or decrease their coverages to make it work. So in our discussions we have come up with a couple of ideas, one is to encourage our charter fleets across the gulf of Mexico to try and take a very proactive approach to keeping their vessels out of harms way. We are going to include on our Face Book page and Our web site some basic storm preparation protocols and templates for storm management plans to give to your insurance providers. You can go there and copy and paste these for your use and then customize them to suit your individual needs or location. Secondly we are going to reach out to agencies and their underwriters to start a discussion on ways to help us be better prepared , establish minimum standards needed to survive weather events and work to reduce cost as we reduce claims at the same time. Any feed back , recommendations or comments are encouraged please contact:

     Capt Gary Jarvis

     Executive Director CFA

     Cell 850-259-5482

  • 10 Sep 2020 1:11 PM | Gary Jarvis (Administrator)

    Dr. Roy Crabtree

    Regional Administrator

    National Marine Fisheries Service

    9721 Executive Center Drive North

    St. Petersburg, FL 33702



            Hope all is well and look forward to the days when we can all get together under more normal circumstances. The board of Directors here at the Charter Fisherman’s Association have instructed me to reach out to SERO, the NMFS and Gulf Council Chairman to get some crucial information on the status and implementation of the SEFHIER program. I am also tasked in this letter with letting all those involved in the development and implementation with SEFHIER to share our concerns that we may have once we get a clearer picture of what the final product is going to look like. As I write this letter, I realize the challenges of implementing an Industry led self-reporting data program that had never been done before. Our Board members and I have participated in numerous ELB pilot programs including a rights-based management EFP that had such a system. With that experience we are aware of the challenges the SEFHIER program has and will face as this moves forward. And although as a organization, we have worked tirelessly to get a ELB system on our fleet vessels, we know that the delays have been frustrating for us and those of you in the agency. And now, to exasperate the situation and most likely add to further delays all of us have had to change our daily lives and ability to go to work and preform our duties due to the Covis-19 pandemic. This present shelter at home /work at home and no face to face meetings has put us all at a disadvantage on being able to communicate freely on this program. So, for us at CFA we have taken a position of patient and to do our due diligence by continuing to work with you on the SEFHIER program that will lead to good results once this system is in place.

    With this letter I am including a copy of the summary reports that stemmed from the many workshops that were held to get industry input , questions, concerns and solutions offered to create a well-supported, enforceable and successful electronic self-reporting system for the charter for hire industry. Also attached is the 2019 power point presentation we all got that was approved and sanctioned by the agency to share with all the stakeholders at those workshops. The concerns we are having is what has become of the information presented on slides 16 thru 20 of the presentation and will be the basis of my questions.

    Based on slide 16 has any of this changed? If yes how? And if yes why?

    Slide 16

    •        An account must be set-up with Atlantic States Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program (ACCSP)
    •        Reports can be made using a tablet or mobile phone app
    •        Reports can also be made using VMS

    Approved app/VMS vendors will be listed on the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Electronic Technologies website:

    Next Question is based on slides 17,18   where in that presentations and the assumptions we had was that our industry would have a choice of two types of vessel monitoring and electronic reporting. Are there two options and cost associated with those options still available? If not, why? And if that is no longer true, how do you plan on addressing the lack of options or capabilities of a single system due to the unique aspects of the CFH industry both in vessel type and geographical challenges when it comes to data transfer? As you can see if you review the workshop summaries there are some who will favor the VMS based technology verse the GPS data logger cell phone reporting application. Either way for industry buy in which is crucial for compliance, accuracy in the self-reported data and for this system to be exceptional these 2 options are an absolute must.

    Expected to be approved for Gulf of Mexico permit holders/slide 17

    eTRIPS/mobile (ACCSP)

           a tablet-based program

           a mobile phone-based program is expected to launch March 2019

           Hail-out capability will be added in March 2019

           Requires internet connection

           24/7 helpdesk

           VESL (Bluefin Data)

    VMS Expected to be approved for Gulf of Mexico permit holders:

    Federal Permit Holders Must /slide 18

           Have NMFS approved hardware/software with GPS capabilities that is permanently affixed to the vessel and that, at a minimum, archives vessel position data and transmits it to NMFS

           Pings once per hour

           VMS will meet the requirements (vendors must be approved for for-hire program)

           Southeast Fisheries Science Center is testing 7 archival GPS units

           Results will be available in June/July

           NMFS will begin review and approval process

           Types of Units       Solar or Powered by the vessel

           Range of cost Unit: $150-800      Monthly: $10-40

    So, in closing I hope that you and your staff can give us the status of these concerns, be able to give us a update on the next expected stage of development.  I think as we get  closer to the implementation of SEFHIER into the CFH sector that we work to improve our level of communication with the SEFHIER program directors and developers to assist us and them in clearing up any confusion among our membership and industry across the board. CFA since we introduced sector separation in Aug of 2008 has been the Bell cow for higher levels of accountability in the CFH sector and one of the key corner stones of that plan was verifiable self-report catch effort and landings recorded before unloading our catch using electronic log books. The technology available now verses then has increased in unmeasurable bounds. Our efforts to continue to support and push for better data collection and the science that it will enhance remains high on our mission statement list. I look forward to your response to our concerns and a better level of communication on our part to be part of a solutions-based team involving the NMFS, SERO, gulf council and Charter fisherman’s Association.

    Captain Gary Jarvis

    Executive Director

    Charter fisherman’s Association




  • 08 Sep 2020 12:27 PM | Gary Jarvis (Administrator)

    Well the summer grind has come to a end, fishing is still great, but a short reprieve until fall fishing picks up is much needed .So I am sending this out to remind every federal permit holder in the Gulf that we need your support as we go into the fall management cycle with a big list of things CFA is going to do to improve your profits, access to our important fisheries and value to your business. A annual professional CFA membership is $100 for the next 12 month. The actions of our organization in the PAST AND IN THE FUTURE WILL BRING YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS each year as we forge on to improve our industry. To be effective and provide needed expenditures to manage our organization we need your membership , voice and financial support. Please click on Join CFA and sign up today

  • 25 Mar 2020 1:12 PM | Gary Jarvis


    I have had clarification that your crew count as employees even if they are 1099 sub contractors just send the 10-99's in with you application

    Last week, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the activation of the Business Damage Assessment survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Florida’s local business operations. The survey, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will evaluate businesses affected by COVID-19 and the impacts the virus has had on the local economy so actions to implement appropriate relief programs can begin.


    I encourage you to register and take the Business Damage Assessment Survey online here.  Results from this survey will be shared with state agencies and local partners. Surveys submitted by small businesses can be used to access the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan, made available for COVID-19 through the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. For inquiries or assistance with the survey, businesses can contact Emergency Support Function 18 at

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