Charter Etiquette

Charter fishing is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, the company of friends, and build memories that will last a lifetime, while catching the wide variety of fish that thrive in the Great Lakes. Your actions can help insure a safe voyage and a pleasurable experience for all aboard. Great Lakes Fishing Charters LLC (GLFC) and your Captain consider safety the number one responsibility for all onboard.

Alcoholic beverages:

Alcoholic beverages are allowed aboard boats in Michigan. Safety is always the first concern, so, moderation is the key while on the water. Alcoholic beverages are NOT allowed aboard vessels in Canada.

Controlled Substances:

The United States Coast Guard and other law enforcement has a zero tolerance policy regarding the possession and / or use of drugs aboard any commercial vessel. Violation is a federal offense. Don't even think about crossing that line aboard a charter boat. Medications other than Schedule I, II, III drugs may be brought aboard a charter boat in their original prescription packaging. Schedule I,II,III drugs are prohibited. Schedule IV, V drugs are prohibited unless used in accordance with the "Controlled Substance Act". Additionally, medical marijuana and recreational marijuana or extracts or variations thereof are prohibited, without exception. The charter boat falls under federal jurisdiction.

Clothing & Gear:

Weather changes. Warm days turn cold and some cold days get hot. Dress in layers. Remember it is cooler on the water than on shore. Bring warm clothes. Rain gear can be an asset on breezy days. You will only miss what you didn't bring.


Please be respectful of the boat you are a guest aboard. Every so often someone comes aboard with muddy or greasy work shoes or boots. Oil, grease, tar, printing ink, paints, solvents, mud, etc., create a significant cleaning issue and worse if the stains cannot be removed. Soft soled, non-marking shoes and boots should be the only footwear worn aboard the charter boats. Footwear needs to be worn aboard the charter boat. Flip flops and sandals do not qualify as footwear.

Food & Beverage:

Bring what you like. Please bring foods in containers that are easy to seal as open packages seem to find their way scattered onto the deck. Most groups bring way more food than they can enjoy on a half day charter. Glass containers are prohibited. Plastic and aluminum containers work much better.
Tobacco / Chew can be used as long as you bring a container. Do not "clear" to the lake.

Cigarettes, Cigars, Pipes and e-cigarettes can be smoked in the open area on the back of the boat while fishing, as long as everyone on board gives their consent. Ashes and 'butts" should go in a container with water, not in the lake. No smoking while the boat is underway.

Motion Sickness:

Most people know if they have a tendency toward motion sickness. Be considerate to others on board by taking steps ahead of time to avoid becoming sick at sea. Starchy foods are your friend while greasy, spicy and acidy foods and beverages are not.

Arrival Time:

Arrive on time and prepared. (Yes, you should have already purchased your fishing licenses.) Your Captain will have the boat prepped and ready at the time of your charter. I won't take but a few minutes to load your gear and board the vessel. (Wait to be invited aboard.) Most days there will be a charter before or after your charter. Don't expect the Captain to extend his day because you were late.

Fish Cleaning:

Some groups clean fish themselves while other groups want to have fish cleaned. Fish cleaning is a fee based service not included in the cost of the charter. Please request fish cleaning when you schedule your charter. Charter starting times may need to be adjusted to accommodate fish cleaning.


The cost of the charter pays for the boat and Captain's service operating the boat. It is customary to reward your Captain / crew for service and "helpfulness" beyond operation of the vessel. Most people have limited experience fishing or handling the rod to successfully land the fish they are catching. The Captain / crew will lend advice, net fish, bait and set lines, and anything else they can to help make your trip enjoyable.

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