charter boats

Charter operators fishing for customers this season

Daily Record Business Writer
May 21, 2009 7:26 PM

OCEAN CITY — The problems may be different this summer for Ocean City’s charter boat operators, but the worries are the same.

Shepherd University student Anthony Pino spends his summers as a first mate on the Marlin Magic, but he doesn’t see a future for himself in the industry.After their worst season in decades — thanks to high fuel prices and a poor tuna fishing season — this year the boat captains will have to deal with the recession.

Although last year’s season was described with words like “horrible” and “devastating,” most operators in one of the resort town’s largest industries, who are hired for offshore fishing day trips, say matching 2008’s numbers will be good enough this year.

“We’re optimistic,” said Ron Callis, captain of the Shelly II. “The fuel’s less than half what it was last summer, so that alone will save us some money.”

Added Brian Tinkler, general manager at the Sunset Marina: “Last year the boats didn’t move. It’s still anybody’s guess for this year with the economy, but we’re encouraged by the fuel prices.”