Happy New Year to all that read and follow my posts. As you know, this is the hub for the latest information to help you through the changes in my business month to month, All good news. I have a lot to cover. Your safety and satisfaction has never been more in jeopardy , nor has it ever been more misrepresented. Read all of this to make a sound decision for your next charter adventure on the water.
I was too sick to cook last night so I ordered take out. Standing around waiting for my food, I decided to pick up the rack cards and business cards for fishing charters that litter each common space of every local business. Lot’s of new people I have never heard of. I looked them up later when I got home and there was not much to find. It’s the winter charter group. Guys that live somewhere else, bring a boat down and offer you charters. I’ve seen them around lately. Easy way to spot this. No website, no reviews, no secure system for payment, nobody knows who they are, no social media, no advertising, no registration as a legal business with sunbiz.org. If you give them your credit card info over the phone, you just gave it to a stranger willingly. That’s insane. I see it happen. Nobody checks these idiots. Rarely ever do I get checked and I’m on the water every day. There is zero enforcement to check if businesses are operating legally and safely.
Insurance is the biggest facade of security in the marine and charter industry. I saw operators proudly boasting “insured.” on their business cards. If you believe that, you are not ok. -Everybody is taking shortcuts to save in extreme costs of operation. I was sad to announce in November that I can no longer offer insurance for my customers “in the water.” That means the moment you are outside of a boat, no insurance covers your misfortune. You are screwed if you step on a sea urchin, cut yourself in a mishap, or something worse goes wrong. My last insurance company dropped me for 2023. At more than double my 2022 rate, I have secured a new policy with a company that will insure my snorkelers, sandbar trips and lobster trips in 2023. All of which is the most dangerous trips I offer because I can’t manage what happens outside of my boat and control. That’s where you can get hurt if it’s going to happen. If you see somebody advertising “insured” that may be true. What they are insured for is what really matters and what costs far and above being insured in my boat is having you covered for ALL of the activities I offer. Insurance is meaningless if the operator is insured for damage to the boat, but you are not insured if you are injured outside of the boat. That difference costs me thousands of extra dollars and very few insurance companies offer that coverage anymore. It requires much more procedures to be in place and documentation of the vessel and certification of it’s operating components. To be clear, I have secured 2023 insurance to cover my customers in the water. That is a really big deal.
Let’s move on to fishing. It’s winter now. Bomb cyclone came through christmas week. We came within 3 degrees of having a fish kill from record cold water. We are breaking record warm temps now as the new normal trend and my air conditioner runs every night. I’m a pattern fisherman and that’s where my answers usually come from. Trends of temperature, especially normal seasonal temps and weather patterns make my fish do this or that or make them likely to be here instead of here. My inshore reef water went from 58 degrees to 75 in a week. That really doesn’t ever happen, so I’m doing my best to stay on top of these radical changes. Fishing has been good. My success has come from testing, sampling and moving. It’s been working. My goal has been having the best communication with your group to make sure I am checking the boxes for your trip and keeping you comfortable as we bend rods. We have been steadily catching snappers, jacks and mackerels. Grouper season is closed until May1.
Snorkeling has been not much of a thing the past few months. Certainly, always a player, but the reality has been challenging. We are in our windy season until maybe May. There are plenty of windy days that we do see some really good visibility on the reef. Usually wind kills our visibility for several days, so it’s not reliable. I offer snorkeling charters within relatively appropriate conditions. I know how to do it and it is relatively easy for me. That may not be the same story for your family and participants. Snorkeling in a pool for 15 seconds is not the same as snorkeling in the ocean. Not even close. I say this for those that do not understand. Those that know how got this like walking down the sidewalk. If you have no experience, no understanding, no practice, no knowledge of how the equipment works……….I can’t teach you EVERYTHING in a short period of time in real world conditions. What you can do is use the internet. Educate yourself and your entire group. I see so many moments of stress that should be moments of excitement. If you set your group up improperly, failure is the first option because of how the foundation was built. I offer activities that are entry level and easy. They require knowledge of the basics of operation, they require good conditions for comfort and ease of the activity and it requires participants to have confidence that they are prepared and safe. Most of that is on you before it is on me. If the water is cold, there is waves, your participants are afraid of this, this and this……I know we have discussed the variables and you know your group, I do not. It’s easier than it is hard, so let’s make this easy.
Lobstering……it has been a while now since my customers were in tune with the reality of what lobstering is. I don’t verbally paint an easy pretty picture of this activity anymore. It actually is relatively easy. You just have to be able to do the mechanics of the activity. Everybody is constantly trying to cheat the reality of what is involved to strap gear on, find lobster, dive down and collect them with a technique that is not a secret The reality of lobstering is you have to do what it takes to execute a skill set to catch a lobster underwater on the bottom of the ocean among varying conditions. I think this is my last year of offering this to new customers. Anybody watch Seinfeld and remember the soup Nazi episode? It’s going to have to be super and pleasant for me to make this work for me.
How to book a lobster trip 2023 properly. Thoroughly read the information and requirements outlined on my website. Apply if it is appropriate to your group and your participants meet the minimum requirements. Reserve the trip, being very certain to fill out the “notes” section so I am aware of who, how many and what your group needs specifically for equipment for your trip. Leave out of the notes section about how you want to go as shallow as possible and you’re terrible at snorkeling. That is not where the lobster are ever because that shallow stuff gets hit 50 times a day by 50 different groups and there is nothing in those holes and being bad at snorkeling disqualifies you instantly. Make sense? Show up on time with cash in hand. I will take full payment for the cost of your trip before anything happens or moves. Then we proceed as normal adults. I will go through my program with instruction and patience. I will put you in the best places as possible to catch lobster. As soon as the train has flagrantly gone off the rails and is on fire rolling down the mountain, I shall respectfully return you to the dock and you can continue on with your day. If you do your part, we have a good day and a full trip. If not, I have placed these measures to protect my brain from whatever you have brought to me. Derailing my operation is no longer an option. That is how lobstering will make it form 2023 into 2024 as an option for my business. Less silly stuff.
I am one man with a boat making adventures for the masses. It is a challenging business. There is no cheating my reality. There is no fantasy or salesmanship. I’m giving you the best experience for your investment in me. There are no reposts from when times were perfect. Everything is a one to one ratio of this is what it is and this is what you need to do. The more you work with me and the conditions, the easier our trips flow. If you book a trip, ignore everything and show up, you have made a more challenging day for me. You are my crew. You make your trip. You are fishing on your fishing trip with me. I know how to teach you. When you do it yourself, it’s an infinitely better experience. That’s why my business is named Florida Keys Reel Adventures. You are doing the action to make success. You invest in me, I invest in you, we have a relationship. If you want everything done for you, I can do that too. Just let me know.
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