The following is the text of a press release issued by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources:
(ANNAPOLIS, Md.) — Two Kent Island fishing boat captains were charged Thursday with operating passenger vessels without required safety equipment and failing to have the appropriate licenses, following a lengthy investigation and enforcement action by undercover Maryland Natural Resources Police officers and the U.S. Coast Guard.
A third boat, the “Fishing Lady,” was removed from service after it was found to have numerous safety violations and was taking on passengers despite an order earlier this year from the Coast Guard not to do so.
“The public needs to have confidence that the commercial boat they step onto for a day of fishing is safe. We also want to protect the reputation of our law-abiding head boat and charter boat captains, who work long hours to maintain the integrity of their vessels,” said Col. George F. Johnson IV, NRP superintendent.
Head boats, also known as party boats, charge a per-head fee compared to other types of charters that involve renting an entire boat.
NRP officers posing as paying customers boarded the 35-foot “Miss KeKe” and a 40-foot unnamed vessel Thursday to observe the operation. When the boats returned, they were met at the dock by other officers and a Coast Guard special agent and inspectors.
Tyrone Antone Meredith, 53, of Stevensville, and Herlen Vernon Lynch, 63, of Dover, Delaware, each face maximum fines of $4,000 for violations discovered during an inspection by NRP and the Coast Guard. They have been charged with operating as an unlicensed commercial fishing guide, failing to obtain federal licenses to operate a vessel, failing to have a license on board while charter fishing, and using a consolidated sport boat license on a boat hired for recreational fishing.
Additional Coast Guard charges are pending.
Both men are scheduled to appear in Queen Anne’s District Court on October 29.