A Grasonville man has been charged by the Maryland Natural Resources Police with operating a charter boat service without the proper state licenses.

Heath Roy, 49, was issued citations for failing to obtain a charter boat license and with using a Chesapeake Bay Sport Fishing Boat recreational license on a commercial vessel.

Officers boarded the Fishing Lady Saturday morning as it was anchored off Sandy Point State Park. The vessel, a head boat that hailed from Stevensville, had about 30 paying customers aboard. Head boats charge a per-person fee compared to charters that involve renting an entire boat.

Last year, the Fishing Lady was part of an investigation by NRP and the Coast Guard of charter boat operations on Kent Island that resulted in several men being charged with illegal and unsafe practices. The Fishing Lady was removed from service after it was seen taking on passengers despite a Coast Guard order earlier in the year not to do so. An inspection detected numerous safety violations.

Col. George F. Johnson IV, NRP superintendent, said cases such as these underscore the need for customers to check that they are hiring a licensed captain operating a Coast Guard-inspected boat.

"Illegal charter operations can be dangerous and siphon business away from honest captains who have complied with all Coast Guard standards and regulations," Johnson said. "Our officers work closely with the Coast Guard to give the public confidence that the commercial boat they step onto for a day of fishing is safe."

Roy is scheduled to appear in Annapolis District Court on Sept. 18. If found guilty, he could be fined up to $900.