Information needed on getting a salt water guiding license

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    Default Information needed on getting a salt water guiding license

    Hi guys,

    I'm finding it hard to find information on getting licensed to guide salt water fishing and I'm hoping someone here can help me with doing this.

    I've recently bought a 25' Harbercraft Kingfisher. I've been fishing both salt and fresh water around BC for 30 years. It's time for me to not just fish for recreation but to also try to make a bit of extra income at it while out on the water. I also own a North River Jet boat that I use in the fresh water but have also been using in the salt up until now.

    When I looked into getting a fresh water license I was forwarded to the government agent office where they told me to study for the fresh water guide license test but they couldn't help me with information on getting a guide license for salt water.

    I've been told by some people that I will have to get passenger/customer insurance for the boat but that's about the extent of what people have offered for info so far.

    I have my boat safety license but am planning on taking some more in depth boater safety courses as well as chart/radar courses too if available.

    The Harbercraft has both gps/charts/radar but I am new at the radar part of it.

    Can any of you guides please offer a step by step procedure into getting fully licensed and insured to guide salt water?

    I would like to do things the absolute right way from the start so your help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Contributing Member fishinmagician's Avatar
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    Officially, there is no saltwater guiding license. There are however, requirements for you to meet as the operator of the vessel.

    You require:
    C number
    SVOP
    Med A3
    PCOC
    Marine First Aid
    charter insurance.
    transport Canada approved commercial safety gear
    ROC-M w DSC
    liferaft if you intend to fish offshore...and upgrade to Med A2 as well.
    Get your vessel inspected by transport Canada for equipment approval with thru hulls etc etc
    Stability test

    never mind getting a CTAG as it is a total waste of time and money and it means nothing...I know, I have one.

    so...are you going to be an owner operator? Are you going to affiliate yourself with an established firm? Where are you going to get clients? Making money isn't easy in this business in the long run.

    Where are you hoping to set up shop? do you have a business plan?

    This coast isn't a good place to set up shop right now and there are a lot of operators and firms giving up and folding. You may make some bucks at first, but when you need to replace engines etc etc, it adds up a hurry.


    I have just scratched the surface.....still interested?
    "You go in the cage--The cage goes in the water- - Shark's in the water--Our shark-Farewell and Adieu to you fair Spanish ladies, Farewell and Adieu to you fair Spanish Ladies at Sea.." -Quint

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    Contributing Member IronNoggin's Avatar
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    Cool

    Pretty well covers it, with one minor exception: If you have the SVOP ticket, you don't need the Pleasure Craft Operator's Certificate (PCOC). It is super-ceded by the SVOP.

    And I tend to disagree regarding the CTAG Program. While it is still in it's infancy, I can already see some benefits.

    It certainly won't make you wealthy by any means, but if you like the Lifestyle, it has it's own rewards!

    Good Luck!

    Cheers,
    Nog


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    Moderator Fishaholic's Avatar
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    I also thought the MEDa3 was covered under the SVOP course... no?


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    Contributing Member IronNoggin's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Fishaholic View Post
    I also thought the MEDa3 was covered under the SVOP course... no?
    Correct. As in NO, Nope, Nada, No Way Hosea!

    Cheers,
    Nog


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    Hey guys thanks a lot for the replies.
    Well I'm not looking to make a living at guiding. I own a business that I've ran for 8 years and I have employees that can mostly run it on it's own now so it frees up a lot of time for me during the summer and winter months for fishing.
    What I aim to do is take friends family and business associates out legitimately as a small business where I can have tax advantages and earn a little more income at the same time as giving me more reason to spend even more time out on the water.
    When I go out fishing and take friends and family they always are helping to pay for fuel, bait, food, transport, lodging, etc. anyway so I may as well do it as a business and have some tax breaks while I'm at it.
    My friends and family have been telling me for years I should do the guiding thing to help offset boat costs as well as being able to charge people for guiding, not just sharing in fishing trip expenses.

    Yes, I will be the owner operator and I would like to look into having a first mate employee that could also guide on his own if I was unable to do a trip. I have a close friend that is with me for most of my fishing trips anyway so to get him to be a part of guiding would be great for him too.

    As for setting up shop. I'm a little torn on whether to moorage my boat full time out in Tofino or to keep it out there just for the spring and summer months then bring it back home for the winter season where I fish mostly out of Vancouver etc..

    My clients would come from friends, family, business associates/customers and their word of mouth etc. These people will give me enough business for what I'm looking for without having to spend money on advertising etc. I have a friend that does website stuff for me so I would do up a pretty basic website as well.

    Guess I better get the ball rolling. That's a lot of stuff on the list to get completed.
    If anyone has any contact info on the courses/certs needed that would be great. If not I'm sure I'll find them

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    Contributing Member damnfish!'s Avatar
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    Hey AtoS,

    It's all be pretty much covered above. I'll just answer your questions from a legal perspective.

    It's a pretty grey area legally. However, it's pretty standard that your vessel should be commercially certified (that means it will start with a C) this process can take months, it's not that hard to do, but it will take some of your time to get the paper work filled out, take pictures and then re-do the whole process again when the government asks for more info/photos. Of course you can be in process of doing this and still run charters (make sure you have paper work to prove you're in process).

    As for courses, again, pretty grey area in what is mandatory from a legal perspective, mostly because it's really unclear who has jurisdiction on the ocean. Is it the DFO? is it the Local cops, or is it the RCMP? I've described it before on this forum as the wild-west in a lot of ways. Here are some things that you SHOULD have. 1. SVOP, 2. MED3 3. VHF cert. You should also carry commercial insurance that covers passengers. Now, remember the DFO, RCMP and even the CBPS have sweeping power and can arbitrarily say you're not compliant and put you on the hard whenever they want... so it's best to cover all bases.

    You'll also want/require a business license in Tofino, or wherever you're guiding out of. I know that Tofino really doesn't want any more guides there, so you may run into problems. Again, legally it's tough to say what is required, as the town of Tofino doesn't control business out on the ocean, so you may just want to get a business license wherever you choose to have your incorporated business. YES, you'll want to incorporate for liability reasons, running as a proprietor would be very unwise.

    Should you exceed 30k a year in revenue, you'll have to charge tax, and you'll require a GST number as well as being registered for PST. Should you actually hire your buddy to run charters as well, you'll need WCB coverage for him. Of course he'll likely work more than 8 hours a day, so you'll have to pay overtime, and take care of the paperwork for taxes.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by damnfish!; 12-03-2012 at 10:28 AM.

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    Hey damnfish great to meet you and thank you so much for all of that info! Ya I've come across the problem of proprietorship business and insurance/litigation problems in the past so I will for sure do it as an incorporated business.

    So much great info from you guys. Great forum and great guys thank you

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    Contributing Member damnfish!'s Avatar
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    Yeah, we all love fishing, but the reality is fishing is statistically very dangerous. There's many serious injuries and fatalities that happen each year in both recreation and commercial fishing. You must separate yourself personally from as much liability as possible, someone slips on your deck, cracks their head open and dies on your boat, you're screwed. If you're interested in putting together a liability release waiver (you honestly should even have friends that fish with you sign them too) let me know and I can put you on the right track.

    Cheers!

    Quote Originally Posted by Addicted To Steel View Post
    Hey damnfish great to meet you and thank you so much for all of that info! Ya I've come across the problem of proprietorship business and insurance/litigation problems in the past so I will for sure do it as an incorporated business.

    So much great info from you guys. Great forum and great guys thank you

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