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Skippered boats vs rental boats

Skippered boats vs rental boats in Arctic Norway, experiences and thoughts from Torbjörn Andersson(49)

During the summer 2022 I got the opportunity to work with the team at Lauklines. I’m mainly a pike fisherman, but sea fishing has always been a highlight for me.

Marcus Åhlund, who is a certified fishing guide at Explore the Arctic, and I went to the same class at Forshaga Sportfishing Academy. I have been a guest at Lauklines for almost 20 years and finally, the fate wanted me to end up there as an employee. It was a fantastic summer and I’m now going to share some of my experiences with you. Mainly to highlight my thoughts regarding the big change the camp is facing.

During my time up there, I followed with great interest the fishing reports and news from various destinations in northern Norway. It is intresting to read exciting reports about big halibuts, cods and nature experiences. But there is also a another side of the coin, accidants and people in rental boats that get into situations they can’t handle. The reasons may vary, substandard boats and equipment, lack of experience or bad judgment? Anyone born in 1980 or earlier can rent a boat in Norway, even if they never been in a boat before. Anyway we are responsible to judge whether the guest has the knowledge and experience required to go out on their own by boat, a very difficult task. Fortunately there have not been any serious incidents during boat rental at Lauklines. Lately the focus on safety and how to reduce the amount of accidents during boat rental has increased from the authorities. There are indications that there will be stricter rules when it comes to boat rental in the future.

For several years Lauklines have thought a lot about the risk factors around boat rental. This had led to the fact that from next season Lauklines will not offer rental boats anymore. There will be solely skippered fishing trips with experienced guides who knows the local conditions, area and weather. To run guided fishing trips in Norway the skipper need: D5L, Basic Safety Training, STCW Passenger and Crisis Management and VHF Course. As I see it, there are many advantages with this concept, among others higher quality fishing and a safer experience. A lot of guests have asked why a guide just cant join there rental boat. But there are significantly higher demands on boats used for guided trips compared to rental boats. The boat must, among other things, be equipped with: fixed VHF, hand-held VHF, liferaft, EPIRB, radar or AIS transponder and lifebuoy with light.

When I have explained the new concept to guests, the most common concern is that they will not be as flexible and be able to stay out really long days when the weather is good and go out at the times of the day they prefer. But then I had to explain that they will be able to adjust start time depending on weather and possibility to move hours between days. By booking 3 or 5 trips the boat is always reserved for an extra day and by 7 trips the boat is reserved for 2 extra days in case of challenging weather conditions or eventual wishes for extra trips. Thats why we also are recommending a minimum length of the stay, so we are able to take the trips the days with the best weather. The guests will decide together with the guide what time of day and which days to fish. Weather and wind rules here.

Tight lines / Torbjörn Andersson