Contender Boats Calls Boat Owners, Anglers to Action on Proposed NOAA Rule

Contender Boats Calls Boat Owners, Anglers to Action on Proposed NOAA Rule

Contender Boats urges all anglers and boat owners to take action.

July 5, 2023 (Homestead, Florida) – Contender Boats is committed to protecting marine life as well as being an advocate for coastal recreation. Contender, along with the fishing and boating communities, is urging all sportspeople to read and consider the ramifications of the new proposed regulations that are designed to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale and the recently added Rice’s whales in the Gulf of Mexico.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is preparing to impose new regulations along the Atlantic Coast that would run from Maine to Florida. The proposed North Atlantic Right Whale Vessel Strike Reduction Rule would expand the existing 10-knot (~11.5 mph) speed restriction to boats 35 feet and larger (the current restriction only applies to boats 65 feet and greater). Further regulations would also expand the range to encompass the entire Atlantic Coast as far as 90 miles out to sea and be in effect for 7-8 months annually. Requiring small recreational boats to navigate offshore conditions at such low speeds can subject these boats to potentially perilous outcomes as they are not designed to operate at these slower speeds.

The proposed amended regulations are as follows as relates to the North Atlantic right whale:

  • A mandatory 10 knot (~11mph) speed restriction for all boats 65 feet and longer to be lowered to all boats 35 feet and greater in length.
  • Expanding the existing Season Speed Zones (SSZs) to span the majority of the Atlantic coast running from central Florida to Massachusetts.
  • A speed restriction of just 10 knots and running up to 90 miles offshore. In some cases, this could run for up to 8 months annually.

Visit the Coastal Recreation site and click on the Take Action tab in the upper right corner. Fill out the form. This will be sent to your representatives and senators urging them to consider all facets of such a ruling. It also asks them to elicit further action that would find a more technologically balanced approach to tracking and monitoring systems on the whales providing a safer environment for boaters, anglers and these marine mammals.

As relates to the Rice’s whale in the Gulf of Mexico:

  • Establish a year-round 11 mph speed limit for ALL boats traveling from Pensacola, Florida to south of Tampa. This could ultimately impact the entire Gulf of Mexico.
  • No vessel transits at night.
  • Vessels transiting through the zone must file their plans to NOAA Fisheries, utilize trained visual observers and also maintain a distance of 500 meters from the whales.
  • Utilize an Automatic Identification System, or notify NOAA Fisheries of transits through the zone.

Take Action

Click on the links below to share your comments on the proposed actions:

NOTE: The comment period for the Rice’s whale grassroots action ends tomorrow. Please click and comment on one or all of the links above.

According to the site, more than 60,000 registered saltwater fishing boats would be impacted by these rulings in the Atlantic Ocean alone. This does not include the Gulf of Mexico. Additionally, over 340,000 jobs would be affected as well as an $84 billion in economic contributions along the East Coast. And while these new regulations are designed to protect these leviathans as they migrate up and down the east coast, the implications would cripple economies that are dependent on boating, fishing and tourism and would potentially create safety concerns for boat owners traveling offshore.

“We fully support protecting these endangered whales,” states Joe Neber, President and Owner, Contender Boats. “And, we are committed to working with state, regional and national organizations to find a more reasonable and sustainable solution that benefits coastal communities, boat owners and the endangered North Atlantic right whales and the Rice’s whales in the Gulf of Mexico.”


Founded in 1984, Contender Boats is a recognized leader in building semi-custom sportfishing boats — carefully engineered and meticulously hand-crafted. Today, Contender offers various models from 24 to 44 feet. Customizations are available for every model from engine power to upholstery, delivering the performance, convenience and comfort anglers expect.

Based in Homestead, Florida, Contender Boats offers a full line of sportfishing boats through its select dealer network. To learn more about Contender Boats and to find a dealer near you, visit: or follow them on social media – facebook: @contender boats inc / Instagram: @contenderboatsofficial