2023 Swansboro Bluewater Rules & Regulations

  1. The rules set forth by the Tournament Committee in no way modify or abridge State and Federal Fishing Regulations. It is the responsibility of each Captain to know and adhere to these Regulations.
  2. Deadline for Entries. The deadline for entry fees in the Bluewater Tournament shall be Saturday, May 27, 2023 at 11:59 PM.
  3. Entry Fees. The entry fee for the Level I Bluewater Tournament shall be $2,500 per boat.
  4. This Tournament is a Captain’s Choice format, fishing two out of three days. Fishing days are May 26, 27, and 28, 2023. Lay Day forms must be filled out online at: prior to 9 AM of the declared Lay Day or dropped off by 9 AM at the official weigh station. A labeled drop box will be at the scales. The form must be signed or submitted by a member of the boat's crew and must include the boat's assigned tournament registration number. If a boat does not declare a day as a non-fishing Lay Day, the Tournament Committee will automatically count that day as a fishing day.
  5. In the event the Tournament Committee cancels the tournament, 90% of Level I fee and 100% of Level II, III, IV, V, VI, and VII fees will be refunded within sixty (60) days of the cancellation date.
  6. Check-Out. No checkout required for Bluewater Tournament boats. Any additional or relevant tournament procedures will be announced at the Captains' Meeting, Thursday, May 25, 2023 at 8 PM.
  7. Fishing Times and Boundaries. Bluewater Tournament fishing time starts at 9 AM and ends at 3 PM each fishing day by GPS time. No lines, teasers, cameras, or omnidirectional sonar technology in the water before 9 AM each day. Fishing Boundary is Loran lines 40100 North 39200 South. All fish must also be hooked within those coordinates.
  8. All Billfish must be reported to the committee boat when hooked, lost, boated, or released. Radio frequency VHF channel 74, SSB4146.
  9. Weigh-In. Bluewater Tournament Yellowfin Tuna, Dolphin, Wahoo, and Blue Marlin may be weighed-in at Big Rock Landing Weigh Station or submitted online. Please give tournament boat number to weighmaster to assure accurate accounting records.
  10. Winners of billfish categories will be determined by points, except Levels III and V. In the event of a tie, the winner will be determined by the first boat to reach the most points. Blue Marlin weighed-in must be a minimum of 400 LBS or 110 inches or a 400-point penalty will be assessed. Blue Marlin will be awarded 300 points per release. Blue Marlin boated must be weighed-in. If meeting minimum length or weight it will be awarded 1 point per pound up to 599.99 LBS and 2 points per pound 600.00 or over pounds. All Billfish other than Blue Marlin must be released and will be awarded 75 points per release. Level V winner will be the first Blue Marlin reported and boated weighing 500 LBS or more. Winning game fish (wahoo, yellowfin tuna, dolphin) will be determined by weight. In the event of a tie, the winner will be determined by the first fish weighed-in. Fish must be in fresh, edible condition and fit for human consumption. All gamefish must be weighed-in the day they are caught. Hookup time for gamefish should NOT be reported to Tournament Headquarters.
  11. Released fish must be attested to by signature of the angler, boat captain and one crew member on board the boat at the time of the release on the official release submitted online at This form must be submitted online the day the fish is released to qualify. To be considered a release, the mate must touch the leader wire before the fish is released. In the event a boat designates on the "Release For" a release and the captain, mate, and angler (and/or others as deemed necessary by tournament officials) are unable to successfully pass a polygraph as the same as designated, the boat shall be penalized 300 points for a blue marlin and/or 75 points for any other billfish. No points shall be awarded for the fish in any category. Furthermore, the boat shall be penalized 300 points from the weight of the largest blue marlin weighed-in by the boat.
  12. Attempted weight alteration of any fish automatically disqualifies the boat from the tournament (such as inserted weights, ice, water, etc.).
  13. Scales open at 4 PM-6PM, Friday, May 27, Saturday, May 28, and Sunday, May 29 or upon a Marlin arriving at the dock to be weighed. NO fish may be held until the following day for weigh-in. In the event a billfish is reported hooked-up prior to 3 PM, the Tournament Committee, if properly notified, will grant adequate time to boat such billfish and re-open scales as necessary; however, all "meat" fish must be weighed in by 6 PM Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Release forms must be in by 7 PM Sunday except for properly reported hooked Blue Marlin which would have an extension time granted.
  14. All species must be weighed-infrom the boat from which they are caught or tournament chase boat. No trucking or overland transportation of fish. Fish must be off-loaded from the boat at designated areas ONLY. Any fish not off-loaded from the boat at designated areas will be disqualified.
  15. Fish must not be mutilated or darted in any way, except for gaff punctures.
  16. These rules must be adhered to or species will be disqualified. IGFA Rules are encouraged. Release of small fish is encouraged.
  17. Any protest must be in writing and submitted to Tournament Headquarters within (2) TWO hours of last fish weighed each fishing day. Protests must be accompanied by a non-refundable cash fee of $1,000.
  18. All times mentioned in the above rules are subject to the Weighmaster's watch and his watch only. The official time of the Weighmaster's watch will be announced at the Captains' meeting. All times based on GPS time.
  19. All fish must be fit for human consumption. All fish are subject to the scrutiny and inspection by the Tournament Committee, Weighmaster, and Marine Fisheries Officials.
  20. All fish must be caught by rod and reel. Double line and leader combined may not exceed 40 ft; neither of which may exceed 30 ft.
  21. Weighed fish become the property of the Swansboro Rotary Club Memorial Day Bluewater Fishing Tournament.
  22. Each boat should be represented at the Captains' Meeting. Each Captain is responsible for knowing the rules, including any changes that may take place at the Captains' Meeting.
  23. In the event two or more fish are of the exact same weight, the fish entered first shall be declared the winner.
  24. For safety purposes, all boats entered must adhere to USCG regulations for their size.
  25. A boat may be replaced after competition begins due to mechanical breakdown. Call 910.389.0064 or 910.376.0970 and drop off verification information at the weigh station. Any changes of vessels from original registration must be approved by the Tournament Committee for the new vessel to be recognized as a tournament participant.
  26. Cash prizes to be awarded to the boats with the heaviest fish and most points.
  27. In the event that all places are not won, all prize money will be paid proportionally among winners. In the event no qualifying fish are caught in their level, all prize money will be retained and added to the following year's purse to the established prize schedule. No refunds will be made except for Levels III, IV, V, and VII.
  28. Bluewater Lady Angler and Junior Angler prizes will be based on points or weights respective to their weight or catch and release points. A prize will be awarded to the Lady Angler with the most release points and the largest meat fish weighed. In the event of a tie, the time of the weigh-in or release will determine the winner.
  29. Junior Angler and Lady Angler (Rules and Definitions): The Boat and no more than one (1) Junior Angler can get credit for the fish weighed of each species. The Junior Angler must accompany the fish to the scales and sign the weight ticket to get credit. The Lady Angler must accompany the fish and sign the weight ticket. A Junior Angler is determined by not having reached the age of 16 by the date of registration on May 25, 2023. A Lady Angler is any female who has attained her 16th birthday by the date of registration on May 25, 2023.
  30. All winners may be subjected to a polygraph examination. The Tournament Committee reserves the right to inspect all boats entered in the competition at any time.
  31. Any two or more boats coming together for any reason after fishing time begins may be disqualified. As safety is of primary importance, permission may be granted for exceptions by the Committee Boats or Tournament Headquarters. Any disqualification or violation of tournament rules becomes an automatic overall tournament disqualification for boat entered.
  32. Boats are to proceed in an orderly fashion to the weigh station. One member of the crew must remain with the fish to verify weigh-ins. Boats will be tied up in the designated off-loading areas only for off-loading and weighing of fish or may remain in the channel and the Tournament Chase Boat may ferry the fish and anglers to the weigh station. The crew must depart immediately after off-loading fish and weighing of fish.
  33. Once officially registered, all entry fees are non-refundable, except as stated in rules #5 and #27.
  34. Any tournament official or tournament sponsor entering the tournament in compliance with the tournament rules is eligible for any, and all prizes.
  35. All tournament participants consent and authorize the Tournament Committee, and their advertising/public relations agencies to use and reproduce names, voices, and/or photographs, whether taken or recorded, and circulate the same for any, and all purposes of publicity and advertising of all kinds and descriptions in any, and all media formats.
  36. North Carolina Saltwater Fishing License is required for all participants. The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries will require a recreational fishing license for anyone participating in fishing aboard a vessel. This includes a license for the captain, the mate, and the anglers. These individual licenses can be purchased on a 10-day, annual or lifetime basis. Call 252.726.7021 for more information or go to
  37. State and Federal Size and Bag Limits. All fish must adhere to state and federal regulations. Blue Marlin: - 99" lower jaw fork length (LJFL) and 1 per vessel per trip (to be eligible for prize money the Blue Marlin must weigh 400 LBS or measure at least 110" LJFL). Yellowfin Tuna: 27" curved fork length and 3 per person per day. Wahoo: 2 per person per day. Dolphin: 10 per person per day.
  38. HMS Permits. All boats fishing the Swansboro Rotary Memorial Day Bluewater Tournament must have one of the following valid permits: HMS Angling (recreational), HMS Charter/Headboat, or Atlantic Tunas General Category Permit (commercial). Permits expire annually on May 31 each year. Permits must be on board the vessel when engaged in fishing. The Swansboro Rotary Club Memorial Day Bluewater Fishing Tournament is a registered recreational HMS tournament. For more information visit
  39. Level VII Non-Sonar Release. Entry in this level is restricted to (a) boats without omnidirectional sonar technology, or (b) boats equipped with, but choose not to use, omnidirectional sonar technology. Prize payouts will be awarded for total tournament release points. If no billfish are released, winners will be determined by the largest game fish weighed-in. Winners may be polygraphed (see rule #30). All other tournament rules are enforced for this level. Entrants must enter Level I and may enter additional levels that allow omnidirectional sonar technology.
  40. QUESTIONS NOT COVERED BY RULES. The Tournament Rules Committee shall determine the solution to questions or situations and its judgment SHALL BE FINAL.