By Captain John Giszczak
Spring is just around the corner (I hope).
If you have a documented vessel, don’t forget to renew you documentation. It’s free, and you must do it annually. If it’s time to renew your state registration, please be aware that you should only be paying $45.00 for three years. If your renewal application is for a different, higher amount, insist that it be corrected at the Secretary of State office when you go to renew. Be sure to bring your captain’s license, and your MI DNR inspection document to prove you are a “passenger for hire” vessel. If they have difficulty determining the correct fee, tell them to look up MCL section 324.80124. The fee for passengers for hire is clearly described in that section.
I continue to hear horror stories about captains renewing licenses with medical issues. If you have no unusual medical issues and your doctor fills out the new required, lengthy medical forms very carefully, your license renewal should go through quickly. If you have medical issues, you will likely have a more difficult time renewing your license. It may require a long time and a lot of money spent on tests and documentation. You may want to consult a professional USCG license specialist to assist you with your application. You don’t need a T.W.I.C. card anymore; the USCG only requires it for first time applicants.
One item to remember, you can apply for your license renewal up to one year before it expires and ask for delayed issuance until your current license expires. Anyone can ask for that (extra form to fill out), and it could be especially useful if you think you may have trouble getting your renewal approved. It also maximizes your time under license. If you are comfortable about renewing your license on your own, we have all the forms on our website. Look under “Compliance” in the “Members Info” section.
Chuck Kakuska, Sea K’s licensing service (734) 847-1723, email: firstname.lastname@example.org has helped many MCBA members with these kinds of issues over the years. Chuck is a retired USCG license examiner, and has the ability to resolve many issues quickly.
Please don’t forget to make copies of any correspondence with the USCG. In fact, make a copy of your MCBA membership application in case you have questions for us after you have mailed it in.
If you have questions, check the MCBA website out first. Your answer maybe a mouse click away. Check member’s info and look across the top for helpful items, especially compliance tab. Under the “compliance tab” you will find things like a printable captain’s license application, a list of first mates w/phone numbers, documentation info, our Drug Coordinator, w/his phone number, etc. Larry and Maxine have put countless hours into our site for your benefit; please take advantage of it. You will also find all of the officers and lake directors’ phone numbers under the Board of Directors section. Don’t forget to check your website link before your season starts. If something needs to be tweaked, now’s the time to do it. Got a fishing report and a picture? We’ll post it.
By Captain John Giszczak