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Thursday, May 31, 2012

New Boat Law Affects Maryland Charter Boats

OCEAN CITY, Md.- Charter boats in Maryland are facing a steep price tag if they want to be in line with boating regulations passed by Congress.
The regulations will force boat operators to upgrade their life-saving materials. Instead of small rafts, boats with a certain number of people will have to get larger, water-resistant rafts.
The new rafts come at a hefty cost.
"The cost is pretty expensive," said Captain Michael Mizurak. "The initial cost and then you have to pay a yearly fee, it's anything from $1000 to $1500 a year to have them re certified."
Mizurak captains the Angler, a charter fishing boat in Ocean City. He says the cost will need to be eaten but you can't put a price on safety.
"I'm surprised the Coast Guard took this long to switch the rafts," he said. "The other ones are safer but it's the cost."
Safety is of the utmost importance to John Lewis, Talbot Street Watersports operator, but he doesn't think the boating industry can afford the changes.
"As far as the small boat industry carrying passengers, there's not a lot of profit margin in there with the cost of fuel and higher cost of insurance," he said. "Plus, the maintenance of the vessels."

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