How to Become a Fishing Guide in Florida

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Florida is the largest marketplace for constitution fishing on this planet. However, earlier than you get your share of the market, you should know how one can change into a fishing information in Florida. As we speak, you’ll uncover what licenses you should change into a legally working constitution captain within the Sunshine State.

Florida is the most well-liked sport fishing vacation spot within the US, and the world. It’s presumably additionally essentially the most aggressive for constitution operators. Quite a lot of clients implies that there are a number of guides who need to earn money fishing in Florida. There are presently round 5,000 licensed guides within the Sunshine State.

I’ve written a number of different articles about how one can run a profitable fishing constitution operation. I’ve emphasised the significance of service, mentioned paid internet advertising, and urged you to make your individual distinctive journey. This text is about ensuring which licenses you should function your corporation in Florida.

There are main variations between being a licensed saltwater and freshwater information within the state of Florida. To legally function saltwater charters, you want extra licenses than for freshwater.


As a way to run a authorized saltwater fishing constitution enterprise in Florida, constitution house owners and captains should have a minimum of the next three paperwork:

  • Captain’s License (USCG)
  • Constitution/Fishing License
  • Boat Registration

Captain’s License

All saltwater fishing guides in Florida should adjust to USCG necessities. Because of this you could have a Captain’s license – formally known as Service provider Mariner Credential – for saltwater guiding. To learn the way to get your USCG captain’s license, take a look at this text.

Constitution/Fishing License

Fishing/Constitution licenses are issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Fee, though you should go to a tax collector’s workplace to buy one. You will discover data on how one can apply for these licenses on their web site.

There are two kinds of licenses, the Constitution Captain License and the Constitution Boat License:

  • Constitution Captain License. This license permits a USCG-licensed captain to go from boat to boat. On the time of writing, it prices $201.50 for 4 or fewer passengers, $401.50 for 10 or fewer passengers, and $801.50 for 11 or extra passengers.
  • Constitution Boat License. It will probably solely be used on the one boat designated on the license. The prices are the identical as for the Constitution Captain License. Observe that so as to apply for this license, your boat already must be ‘commercially registered’, which suggests you should have the Boat Registration from the Florida Division of Freeway Security and Motor Autos. Extra about that beneath.

All fishing constitution companies (constitution, headboat, and saltwater fishing information operations) have to have both a Constitution Boat License or a constitution captain with an FWC Constitution Captain license. Both of those licenses covers your clients routinely. Clients by no means have to purchase their very own fishing licenses for saltwater constitution fishing in Florida (aside from particular species reminiscent of Snook).

Gulf of Mexico Federal Waters Fishing License

If you wish to fish legally in federal waters within the Gulf of Mexico (9 miles out or extra), you want a Coastal Pelagics allow and/or a Reef Fish allow. Which one is dependent upon which species you’re focusing on. Sadly, the one approach to get such a allow is to purchase it from someone who already has it. It’s because the Gulf Council, the group which manages the Gulf’s federal waters, has not issued these permits since 2003.

Boat Registration

All constitution boats have to be registered with the Florida Division of Freeway Security and Motor Autos. Solely the vessel proprietor can apply for this vessel registration on the county tax collector’s workplace. It’s essential to do not forget that you could all the time have your boat registration certificates on board your boat once you’re working it, precisely such as you would in your automobile.

The value of registering your boat is dependent upon its measurement, and whether or not or not you’re a resident of Florida. It will probably value wherever between round $10 to over $200.

Boat Insurance coverage

As of 2011, boat insurance coverage is not necessary, however a marina or boatyard might require clients to hold insurance coverage. In any case, we strongly suggest each constitution captain to insure their boat.


To be a authorized freshwater fishing information, you don’t want any particular state information licenses. No Constitution Captain License or Constitution Boat License from the FWC. Furthermore, you solely want a USCG captain’s license if you happen to fish in ‘navigable waters’, that means waterways with (business) visitors.

This consists of, for instance, the St. Johns River and its lakes. For those who fish in non-navigable freshwaters, you don’t want a USCG Service provider Mariner Credential within the Sunshine State.

Nonetheless, you do have to have your boat registered on the Florida Division of Freeway Security and Motor Autos. To see how to try this, see the part about Boat Registration above.

In terms of fishing licenses, you as a information simply have to buy your individual annual, 5-year, or lifetime Freshwater Fishing License. As well as, every of your clients must buy their very own license and take it with them on the journey.

You should purchase freshwater fishing licenses on the Go Outdoor Florida web site. An ordinary annual license prices $17.

Now you understand how to change into a fishing information in Florida. You already know all of the paperwork and licenses you want, and the place to get them. All you should do now’s suppose up a catchy constitution identify and get on the market!

We analysis completely for every article we write. Nonetheless, this data shouldn’t be thought of skilled or authorized recommendation. You’ll be able to study extra this right here.

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