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.”

Thousands of Ravens fans expected to make trip to Nashville

Daily Record Business Writer
January 5, 2009 7:18 PM

For Baltimore Ravens fans who couldn’t get to Miami last weekend, one thing became clear after their team beat the Dolphins Sunday to earn a trip to the second round of the National Football League playoffs: It’s easier — and cheaper — to get to Nashville.

The Ravens will play the Tennessee Titans Saturday afternoon, and for many fans, that means road trip.

“That thought entered my mind the week before when we knew we couldn’t get to Miami,” said Rick Williams, 48, a season ticket holder for all of the Ravens’ 13 years in Baltimore. “Tennessee is a doable drive ... and I booked my [game] tickets online right before the game ended Sunday.”

Like thousands of other fans, Williams plans on driving the 11 to 12 hours with a group of family and friends to Nashville for Saturday’s match-up, and spending about $300 to $400 per person for tickets, transportation and lodging. Trip organizers say they expect more Ravens fans to travel to Nashville than were in Miami because many people in Baltimore either couldn’t afford or find a return flight, and the drive is much shorter.

Nestor Aparicio, owner of the WNST-AM radio station, is running a bus trip to Nashville that includes game tickets, a hotel room and tailgate parties. As of Monday evening, he had sold out nearly two bus loads, or 110 tickets.

“We took 217 people to Nashville [for the] 2001 playoffs and had boxed out parts of four different airplanes; we’re hoping to recreate that,” said Aparicio, who has been putting game travel packages together since the team’s first season here.