Coast Guard licensing or state licensing, any fishing guide in Minnesota should be licensed and insured. Even if its not a Coast Guard licensing requirement in the district a guide works in, I feel the state of Minnesota should require any fishing guide for hire to meet basic requirements--requirements that would help maintain safety of everyone. Some basics should atleast include a yearly health/drug test, pass a basic water craft safety training course, maintain C.P.R certification, hold adequate commercial insurance (not your basic boat insurance), and atleast file as an active guide each year and pay a filing fee (which could be used to maintain lakes/rivers).
Have you ever hired a guide and wondered atleast about the insurance the guide probably does not have? If there is an accident can the guide even perform CPR? Does the guide even have life jackets (the right sizes?) aboard and show you where they are at and show you how to use them? Does the guide brief the clients how to drive the boat or how to operate the marine radio incase something happens to the guide? I know for a fact the majority of the guides throughout the state do not do any of these safety procedures before leaving shore. These are just a couple of the reasons why I feel it's important to require any guide to be licensed either by the state or Coast Guard. There are absolutely no standards or regulations on this growing industry and that spells trouble every time.
Why does everyone get upset when the Coast Guard is finally enforcing the law, or even making new rules? What does a guy say? Hey, if you want to be a professional fishig guide for hire--then suck it up and get your Coast Guard license whether its needed or not. Not sure if its required--get it anyway--for the safety of your passengers and fellow boaters. The process is very educational and will make any guide a better guide/captain. Don't like tests?-- no guts, no glory,--then quit. You wanna be a pilot, drive a cab, spray lawn chemicals, drive a bus--get licensed. You wanna be a fishing guide for hire and be responsible for the lives of 6 anglers for a day--get licensed. Just my 2 cents. Im going fishing, Captain Josh, www.minnesotaguideservice.com