STEVENSVILLE, MD. (Sept. 7, 2014) — Maryland Natural Resources Police report that two Kent Island fishing boat captains were charged Thursday with operating passenger vessels without required safety equipment and failing to have the appropriate licenses, following a lengthy investigation and enforcement action by undercover Maryland Natural Resources Police officers and the U.S. Coast Guard.
A third boat, the “Fishing Lady,” was removed from service after it was found to have numerous safety violations and was taking on passengers despite an order earlier this year from the Coast Guard not to do so.
“The public needs to have confidence that the commercial boat they step onto for a day of fishing is safe. We also want to protect the reputation of our law-abiding head boat and charter boat captains, who work long hours to maintain the integrity of their vessels,” said Col. George F. Johnson IV, NRP superintendent.
Head boats, also known as party boats, charge a per-head fee compared to other types of charters that involve renting an entire boat.
NRP officers posing as paying customers boarded the 35-foot “Miss KeKe” and a 40-foot unnamed vessel Thursday to observe the operation. When the boats returned, they were met at the dock by other officers and a Coast Guard special agent and inspectors.
Tyrone Antone Meredith, 53, of Stevensville, and Herlen Vernon Lynch, 63, of Dover Delaware, each face maximum fines of $4,000 for violations discovered during an inspection by NRP and the Coast Guard. They have been charged with operating as an unlicensed commercial fishing guide, failing to obtain federal licenses to operate a vessel, failing to have a license on board while charter fishing, and using a consolidated sport boat license on a boat hired for recreational fishing.
Additional Coast Guard charges are pending.
Both men are scheduled to appear in Queen Anne’s District Court on October 29.
In 1996, Meredith was charged with possession of undersized crabs and was found guilty but let off without a fine on Oct. 4, 1996 in Queen Anne’s County District Court. In 2008, Meredith made a plea deal in a case where he was charged with possession of drugs and paraphernalia. Represented by Joel Katz of Annapolis, Meredith was fined $300.
On March 3, 1999, Meredith was found guilty of DUI in Queen Anne’s County District Court when he was represented by Public Defender John E. Nunn. In that case he was fined $350 and sent to jail for thirty days.
On Aug. 24, 1996 Meredith was found guilty but not fined for failing to have a sufficient number of life preservers on his boat. He was also charged with having an empty fire extinguisher on his vessel or decals which show he paid license fee required for all boats. No fines were assessed by the Queen Anne’s County District Court Judge. The violations were charged by Natural Resources Police Officer Bruce Peris.
On Jan. 23, 1998, Meredith was found guilty of possession of undersize oysters and fined $70 in Queen Anne’s County District Court on a day in which a visiting judge must have been on the bench. NRP Officer Wayne L. Engel issued the citation.
On Oct. 22, 2004, Meredith faced charges of disorderly conduct, obstructing and hindering and failing to obey a lawful order of a police officer. In a trial in Queen Anne’s County District Court, he was found not guilty of two counts and guilty of failing to obey the officer. Meredith was fined $500 and also had to pay his private attorney, Daniel Rosendale of Centreville, Md.
On Dec. 19, 1996, Meredith once again was the beneficiary of a Judge who perhaps is one of those jurists in the state who have magical bushels of oysters appear on their porches. He was found guilty of possession of undersize hard crabs for a citation issued by Natural Resources Officer Daniel Garvin, yet was not ordered to pay a fine or to do any jail time or perform community service. This action was once again in Queen Anne’s County District Court.
Meredith was indicted for distribution of drugs on Aug. 21, 2012 by a Grand Jury. After obtaining the services of noted Annapolis attorney Joel Katz, the charges against him were dropped on Dec. 7, 2012 by the Queen Anne’s County District Attorney.
Herlen Vernon Lynch, of Dover, Del., was charged by Maryland Natural Resources Officer Cheezum on March 25, 2013 with possession of unculled oysters and on May 16, 2013 in Talbot County District Court he pleaded guilty and was given a probation before judgment with a fine of $92.50 and court costs of $22.50.
On June 28, 1994 Lynch was cited by a Maryland State Trooper with doing twenty miles over the limit on Rt. 301 and failed to appear in court to answer the charges.
Lynch was cited by a Maryland State Trooper on Nov. 4, 1984 with driving while suspended and found guilty in Baltimore County District Court and fined $250.
On Aug. 14, 1993, while living in Centreville, Md., Lynch was cited by Natural Resource Police Officer Slocum for having expired flares on board his vessel. Flares are required emergency equipment to signal for help for a vessel in distress. He was fined $250 for failing to appear and fined $25 and court costs for the old flares in Anne Arundel County District Court.
For those interested in returning alive from a fishing trip on the bay, another safety item is a flame arrester which lessens the chances of a fire on a boat. On July 1, 1996, Lynch further built his record as a charter boat captain by receiving a citation from Natural Resources Police Officer Daniel Garvin for operating a vessel without a flame arrester. Lynch entered a guilty plea on Dec. 27, 1996 in Queen Anne’s County District Court and was fined ZERO dollars by the Judge who sat on the case. Court records online do not reveal the name of this sad sack of a judge.
On Nov. 25, 1997, Lynch was cited by Natural Resources Officer James Eisenhauer with harvesting oysters without a tidal license. In Queen Anne’s County District Court on March 15, 1998, Lynch entered a guilty plea and was fined $75 and ordered to pay court costs of $20. Court records do not reflect that Lynch was represented by counsel.
On July 8, 2003, Natural Resources Officer Joanne Dickey cited Lynch for failing to display his boat certificate numbers and in District Court for Queen Anne’s County he entered a guilty plea and was fined ZERO dollars by the District Court Judge on Aug. 14, 2003, who was perhaps rewarded for his leniency with a bushel of crabs that weekend.
Trying out the services of yet another Department of Natural Resources Police Officer, Lynch was given a citation on Jan. 24, 2006 for possession of undersize oysters by Officer B. Ball. With this case held in Talbot County District Court, his rather hefty fine of $132.50 indicates that no advance provision of free oysters had taken place for this unnamed District Court Judge. Lynch was also assessed court costs of $22.50.