What is a captain’s license and how not having one led to the removal of four vessels at Lake of the Ozarks

Local News

BRANSON, Mo.- Over the weekend, four vessels were removed from Lake of the Ozarks for not following charter regulations issued by the Coast Guard.

The four vessels were Tiki 1, Tiki 2, Fullhouse 1 and Fullhouse 2. All vessels were in violation of having a passenger-for-hire excursion, no proper inspection, and not having a credentialed mariner in charge.

“Anyone who guides or operates a boat on the White River Chain or any of the navigable waterways in the US has to have a Coast Guard Captain’s License. As a fishing guide, because I take people out on the water, I have to have a Captain’s License as well,” says Eric Prey.

Prey owns Focused Fishing Guide Service in Branson. Prey takes anglers fishing around the Ozarks, sharing tips on how to best catch fish.

“The license that most of the fishing guides have is an Operator of Uninspected Vessel License. They call it a six-pack because you are able to take out six people in your boat. If you take out more than that, if you operate one of the big cruising boats, or dinner cruises or the Branson Belle, you have to have a Master’s License. It’s a completely different license, But regardless, if you take people out on the water, and get paid for it, you have to have a Captain’s License,” says Prey.

If a charter service is operated illegally, it can be subject to criminal or civil penalties.

Those running illegal charter services can face a levy as high as $53,374.

For more information on how to obtain a Charter Boat Captains License, click here.

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