Attention Gulf Red Snapper Anglers

Photo provided by: MyFWC
Photo provided by: MyFWC

Big changes to Gulf recreational red snapper management could be coming – here’s your chance to weigh in and make sure your voice is heard. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) is holding public hearings on a proposal known as regional management that could give states a larger role in red snapper management in federal waters. See meeting dates and times below.

Currently, the Council is responsible for management of the recreational red snapper fishery in all Gulf of Mexico federal waters. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) manages state waters off Florida. If the Council approves regional management, the federal recreational red snapper quota would be divided state-by-state or at a regional level, and states would set recreational seasons and bag limits in both state and federal waters off their coast.

Regional management could allow for recreational red snapper regulations in federal waters to be tailored to more local needs. However, there are possible trade-offs, such as potentially fewer fishing days for Florida red snapper anglers.

Two meetings will be held in Florida on regional management during October. Council and FWC staff will be on hand at these meetings to discuss proposal details and what it might mean for Florida anglers. If you cannot attend an in-person meeting, there will also be a webinar.

The FWC Commission will discuss regional management and review input from the public hearings at its Nov. 18-19 meeting in Panama City. This input will help the FWC Commission decide how the FWC representative on the Council should vote on the Council’s regional management proposal.

The Council is expected to make a final decision on regional management at its Jan. 25-29 meeting in Orange Beach, AL.

Meeting dates and locations:
All in-person meetings begin at 6 p.m. local time and end no later than 9 p.m. local time. The webinar begins at 6 p.m. Eastern Time.

Thurs, October 22, 2015
Embassy Suites
570 Scenic Gulf Drive
Destin, FL 332550

Tues, October 27, 2015
Hilton St. Petersburg
Carillon Park
950 Lake Carillon Dr.
St. Petersburg, FL 33716

Wed, October 28, 2015

Click here to register!

Public Hearing Guides with details about the Council’s regional management proposal will be posted on the Council website at

Become a Better Advocate with NMMA’s Grassroots Advocacy Tool Kit.

In an effort to keep the recreational boating industry up to date of legislative work and engaged in advocacy activities, the NMMA has put together a new all-inclusive Grassroots Tool-Kit. A PDF can be downloaded here.

The tool-kit is intended to be a resource you can turn to to be a better advocate, to share our industry’s story with key influencers and decision makers, as a guide to hosting Congressional visits and much more. We hope you will use this as reference material in your daily endeavors, as we strive to make industry advocacy a 365 day reality. If you have any questions, please contact Michael Lewan at

NMMA -National Marine Manufacturers Association

SWFMIA PRESS RELEASE – Jopie Helsen named “Member of the Year”

FORT MYERS, FL — Jopie Helsen, owner of the Sailor’s Wharf in St. Petersburg, FL was named “Member of the Year” by the Southwest Florida Marine Industries Association at its recent annual dinner.

“Jopie has been an outstanding advocate of the marine industry for many years and has played a huge role in the growth of our association in the Tampa Bay Region,” said SWFMIA President Hans Wilson. “In particular, his role in protecting the interests of recreational boating in the development of St. Petersburg’s Master Plan for their downtown waterfront is a classic example of what drive and determination can achieve. The marine industry is very fortunate to have someone as dedicated as Jopie is to the boating lifestyle.”

The inscription on the award reads:
“Lead Me, Follow Me, or Get Out of My Way”, General George S. Patton
(Or, was it Jopie Helsen?) Many people have great ideas and good intentions, but few have the focus and drive it takes to carry through. Fortunately for the Marine Industry, Jopie Helsen is one of those few. His success as a world-class racing sailor, a boat manufacturer, and since 1978, owner of St. Petersburg’s The Sailor’s Wharf Yacht Yard is well known. Jopie’s leadership and energy has been the catalyst in the growth of the Southwest Florida Marine Industries Association in the Tampa Bay Area. He has worked tirelessly to educate business and government leaders on the economic impact of recreational boating, the need to responsibly manage Southwest Florida’s magnificent waterfront, and the importance of promoting the boating lifestyle to residents and visitors. Husband, Father, Business Owner, Marine Industry Veteran, and Friend.

Thanks Jopie for all you do.


SWFMIA Industry Roundtable

Industry Roundtable

Please Join Us – All Interested Marine Industry Businesses Welcome

St. Petersburg Yacht Club – Thursday September 10, 4:00pm – RSVP Required

SWFMIA Roundtables are an opportunity for Marine Industry Businesses to come together for updates and discussions on issues. More importantly it is a chance to network, get to know others in the boating business, and be a part of growing efforts to strengthen the voice of our industry in Southwest Florida.

The Agenda

Dock & Marina Permitting & Dredging
Hans Wilson, Hans Wilson & Associates
Howard Miller, Gator Dredging
The current state of Dock Permitting & a review of local dredging projects affecting boating.
Derelict Vessel Update
Hans Wilson, Hans Wilson & Associates
Phil Secord, Mastry Engine Center
Status of FWC Derelict Vessel Plan.
Pinellas County Manatee Plan
Norm Schultz
Status of plan and its impact on local boaters.
FWS Grants for Transient Docks
Walt Miller, St. Petersburg Municipal Marina
A review of the city’s process in obtaining an FWC grant.
West Coast Inland Navigation District
Justin McBride
What is WCIND and the role it plays in recreational boating.
Fishing Regs Effect on Boating
Dennis O’Hern, Fishing Rights Alliance
Dr. Luis Barbieri, FWC Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
Where are we with State and Federal regulations. How is it impacting the boating public.
Legislative Update
Missy Timmins, Timmins Consulting
MIA of Florida Tallahassee Lobbyist
Upcoming boating issues in Tallahassee. Reapportionment.
SWFMIA The state of the Association and a discussion of how we can better bring Boating Businesses together and grow the voice of our Industry.

Roundtable: 4:00pm – 6:30pm (Starting promptly at 4:00pm) No charge to attend
Happy Hour: 6:30pm – 7:30pm (SWFMIA hosts appetizers and 1st drink, then cash bar)

St. Petersburg Yacht Club
11 Central Avenue
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Email or call 954-570-7785

NEWS: Only a few days left to make your comment on the EPA’s ethanol proposal.


There’s only a few days left before the EPA’s ethanol comment period closes. This is our last chance to tell the EPA that we want less ethanol in our fuel supply, the freedom to choose E0 and the assurances to better protect marine engines against E15.


Thousands of comments from the boating community have poured in demanding the EPA reverse course on its proposed increase to the ethanol mandate, but every comment counts.

Will you join them and help make a difference?


The deadline is Monday night at 11:59 p.m. ET.


Lido Key – Big Pass Sand Dredge

Looking across Big Pass at Siesta Key, from South Lido Beach. This is the area the Army Corps of Engineers has proposed removing sand from the shoal to be used to renourish the beach on Lido Key. HERALD-TRIBUNE ARCHIVE / 2014 / MIKE LANG
Looking across Big Pass at Siesta Key, from South Lido Beach. This is the area the Army Corps of Engineers has proposed removing sand from the shoal to be used to renourish the beach on Lido Key.

It has taken nearly 20 years to get federal approval for this project, however plans to renourish Lido Key are causing concern for several groups. The plan would dredge sand from a shoal in Big Pass, and deposit it on the beach at Lido Key. This project would extend 1.56 miles north from the southern tip of the key, and would be the most amount of sand added to Lido Key beach at one time. Once the project is completed, the average width of the beach would be 176 feet. Opponents of the project are concerned that world-famous Siesta Public Beach will be jeopardized if the project does go through. For complete information visit:…


JANUARY 15-18, 2015

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL – Charlotte County is home to just about the finest boating waters in the United States and The 14th Annual Charlotte County Boat Show is coming to the Charlotte County Fairgrounds, January 15th – 18th. This is the area’s largest showing of boats and marine products and a great chance to see what is new in 2015.

Every major dealer will be on hand with more than 250 boats estimated to be on display. The Fairground’s Expo Hall will be loaded with a variety of marine accessories and services. There will be supplies and accessories, boat lifts, clothing, yacht brokers, marinas, boatyards, service suppliers and more.

The show is a great opportunity to learn more about area boating and safety. The U.S Coast Guard Auxiliary, Power Squadron, and local Yacht Clubs can answer just about any questions you may have about where to go and how to enjoy the amazing boating waters of Charlotte Harbor.

The ever popular Fishin’ Franks Bait & Tackle will hold Fishing Seminars throughout the four days. You can learn from and talk with area guides about both inshore and offshore fishing. You’ll never find a friendlier or more experienced crew than Fishin’ Frank’s team, always happy to answer all your questions. With Frank’s popular Fishing Simulator, you can experience the excitement of catching everything form a bass to a marlin. It’s all free. Just stop by the seminar area.

Admission to the show is free. There is a $5.00 parking fee for very convenient on-site parking. The show is open from 10AM-6PM Thursday through Saturday and 10AM-5PM on Sunday.

The Boat Show is located on the north end of Port Charlotte at the Charlotte County Fairgrounds. 2333 El Jobean Road (Route 776), Port Charlotte FL 33948. About 3 miles west of U.S. 41. Across the street from the Charlotte County Sports Complex (Spring Training site of the Tampa Bay Rays).

The CHARLOTTE COUNTY BOAT SHOW is owned by the Southwest Florida Marine Industries Association. The association, whose membership includes virtually every boat dealer and marine related company in Southwest Florida, has protected the rights of boaters and promoted boating and the marine industry in Southwest Florida for more than 40 years. The association also owns the BONITA SPRINGS BOAT SHOW, held at the Naples Ft. Myers Greyhound Track in March and the FORT MYERS BOAT SHOW, held in downtown Fort Myers in November.

Complete show details can be found at