For-Hire Fishing Licenses

A for-hire license is required to take paying passengers fishing in coastal waters. If you operate a for-hire vessel in federal waters (outside of three miles), you may need a federal charter vessel/headboat permit before fishing for certain species. For more information on federal permits, click here.

Blanket licenses cover the individual licensing requirements of the paying passengers. The non-blanket vessel license requires each individual passenger to obtain their own Coastal Recreational Fishing License (CRFL). The U.S. Coast Guard requires guides and captains operating for-hire vessels to comply with their licensing requirements.

The division offers three for-hire license types:

  1. Blanket For-Hire Captain's CRFL
  2. Blanket For-Hire Vessel CRFL
  3. Non-Blanket For-Hire Vessel License

For-Hire Vessel Coastal Recreational Fishing License Application

For-Hire Captain's Coastal Recreational Fishing License Application

Determining the Appropriate License

The below table summarizes the current N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries For-Hire licenses.

  Non-Blanket Vessel Blanket Vessel (CRFL) For-Hire Captains (CRFL)
Cost

Resident-$25

Nonresident-$37.50 

<=6 passengers

>6 passengers

<=6 passengers >6 passengers

Resident-$250

Nonresident-$312.50

Resident-$350

Nonresident-$437.50

Resident-$250

Nonresident-$312.50

Resident-$350

Nonresident-$437.50

Requirements to Purchase

USCG License not required to purchase

USCG License not required to purchase USCG License suitable for passenger rating required to purchase
Requirements to Operate USCG license required to operate vessel USCG license required to operate vessel USCG license required to operate vessel
Other Requirements      All vessels operated by the holder of the Captains license must also be licensed with either one of the for-hire vessel licenses or a Commercial Fishing Vessel Registration with a For-Hire Endorsement.
Intended Purpose Intended for: low cost license for dive boats and charter vessels not wishing to provide recreational license privileges to passengers. Intended for: charter boats and head boats wishing to provide recreational license privileges to passengers. Intended for: guides with multiple vessels wishing to provide recreational license privileges to passengers on all vessels.
Vessel Decal Issued by DMF 4” X 6” For-Hire Decal Only 4” X 6” For-Hire Decal Only No Decal if customer is purchasing the For-Hire Captains License Only.  CFVR Decal AND 4” X 6” For-Hire Decal for Vessels Getting the CFVR with For-Hire Endorsement

This illustration may help as well:

View a printable version of the table and illustration

If you need additional assistance, please contact the License Program Manager, Brenda Clark, at 252-808-8030 or 800-682-2632.