U.S. Coast Guard personnel in Sturgeon Bay continually monitor for illegal fishing charter operators. Coast guard sectors throughout the Great Lakes have stepped up efforts in recent years to crack down on illegal charters. Those efforts led to a Michigan man surrendering his Merchant Mariner's Coast Guard license after he was arrested for an illegal excursion on Lake Michigan and the Chicago River. Chief Warrant Officer Andrew Wight, who works with the U.S. Coast Guard's Marine Safety Office in Sturgeon Bay, says the coast guard prefers to help charter owners understand what is and isn't permissible before taking stronger enforcement measures.
Wight says the bottom line is to ensure safe fishing and boating for all and protect charter operators who play by the rules. Similar operations are also underway in Chicago, Detroit, Key West, Florida, California and Hawaii.