Hire a USCG Licensed Fishing Guide for a Safe & Fun Day on the Water!

When selecting a fishing guide, whether you have younger children, other family members or friends…of eve fishing a tournament…. you want the security of knowing that your fishing captain is always going to put your safety first. GPS, Cell phones, Radios, First-Aid & CPR Certifications are among some of the precautionary items a responsible fishing guide will already have in place!

NOTE: Texas state law requires that you have a current Texas Fishing License with a Saltwater Stamp in order to board the boat or to fish.  They can be purchased with a valid drivers license or ID at all major sporting good retailers, some HEB Grocery Stores, Walmart and local tackle shops. 

Click the Texas Parks and Wildlife logo above to learn more!

Summertime means fishing time for most Coastal Bend residents and visitors. And fishing, both surf and deep-sea, remains the top draw for area water enthusiasts. To help keep your outing a fun and safe experience the Coast Guard suggests you take the following tips into consideration before you get underway.

First, fishing and excursion Guides, who take customers for hire on the navigable waters of the U.S., are required to be licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard. Any body of water that flows to the ocean, has a tidal influence, or permits transportation between two or more states is in most cases a navigable water. All coastal waters fall into this category. The licensing requirements include navigational and seamanship competence, on water experience and participation in a formal drug abuse testing program. Make sure the guide you hire has a valid Coast Guard issued license…ask him or her to show you the license before getting underway.

The Coast Guard also offers free vessel safety examinations to verify that all required safety items are on board and that the boat was seaworthy at the time of the boarding. They may show evidence of completion of these important safety checks by display of a decal issued by the Coast Guard Auxiliary. In addition, the vessel operator may carry a special wallet sized card that attests to the vessel having completed all requirements for un-inspected passenger vessels. Although Coast Guard safety inspections are not required for vessel operators carrying 6 or less passengers (Six packs, as they are called in the industry) you will be assured that the vessel’s equipment and operator’s credentials have been given a thorough review by a Coast Guard official.

Simply verifying that the guide’s license and vessel seaworthiness will go far in insuring your excursion will be a safe and rewarding experience. But, even experienced and well-equipped boaters can encounter unforeseen hazards or have unusual accidents. In cases such as these, having a life preserver on at the time of the incident is crucial. Of the nearly 600 boaters who drowned in boating incidents last year, almost 500 of those were not wearing any personal floatation device. Most or all of these people could have survived long enough to be rescued if they had simply been wearing a life jacket at the time they found themselves in the water. Nobody plans to fall or get knocked overboard!

Finally, avoid alcohol until you’ve returned to shore. The environmental demands of being at sea are great enough without the added effects of alcohol. By the way, your guide should certainly not be drinking. The standard of intoxication for operators of other than recreational vessels is a blood alcohol content of .04. Guides fall into this category. If an emergency situation arises, how strong and alert you are may mean the difference between a great day of fishing and a tragedy.


Information provided with permission from the United States Coast Guard.