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Crystal River Scalloping

What Do You Need to Go Scalloping in 2024?

By May 29, 2024No Comments
a picture of a cooler full of scallops harvested in Homosassa Florida

Last Updated on May 29, 2024 by Eric Bonneman

The 2024 scallop season is one of the year’s most exciting events along Florida’s Gulf Coast, and scalloping trips in Crystal River and Homosassa are exciting adventures that attract tourists and locals in equal amounts.

If you’re planning to go scalloping in Florida this year, you need to be prepared. There are some key things you’ll need and need to know before you dive in—literally.

Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll need to make the most of your trip and make sure everyone has a fun time in the water.

Fishing License: Don’t Leave Home Without It (Unless You’re on a Charter)

A picture of Crystal River Florida Fishing Adventures What Do You Need to Go Scalloping in 2024?

Q: Do You Need a Fishing License to Go Scalloping?

Yes, in 2024, you need a Florida fishing license to go scalloping. This is true for everyone aged 16 and older*. The rule applies regardless of whether you are a resident of Florida or a visitor from out of state.

*Children under 16 are exempt, making scalloping a great family activity for those with younger kids.

Q: Does Anyone Actually Check?

Yes, people do check. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers patrol scalloping areas, including the best spots like those in Crystal River, and they do check for fishing licenses. These officers take their job seriously and may ask to see your license if they spot you scalloping. If you don’t have one and you’re not on a charter that covers it for you, you could face fines and other penalties.

So, while it might seem like just another piece of paperwork, having your fishing license in order is important. It helps protect the scallop populations and makes sure that everyone is following the rules, making the experience better for everyone. Of course, if you’re on scalloping charters, you won’t need to worry about this since they’ll handle the licensing for you. But if you’re going out on your own, make sure you get that license to avoid any hassles.

Q: How Do You Get a FL Scalloping (Fishing) License?

The good news is that getting a fishing license is straightforward and can be done online or at other locations throughout the state:

  1. Online: The easiest and most convenient way is to purchase your license online through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) website. The process is quick, and you can print your license immediately.
  2. In-Person: Licenses can be purchased at various locations across the state, including tackle shops, sporting goods stores, and some Walmart locations. This can be a good option if you prefer to get your license in person and maybe pick up some last-minute gear.
  3. Phone: You can also buy a license over the phone by calling the FWC’s toll-free number. This is a good option if you have questions that aren’t answered online or need assistance.
  4. FWC App: The FWC offers a mobile app where you can purchase and store your fishing license digitally. This can be handy, as you won’t have to worry about losing a paper copy.

The even better news? If you’re going on a scalloping charter, you don’t need to worry about getting a license. Charter companies include the cost of their license in their overall fee, making sure that all legal requirements are met.

This is a significant advantage as it simplifies the process, allowing you to focus on enjoying your trip without having to deal with the red tape! It’s especially convenient for out-of-state visitors or those new to scalloping, as it removes any worries about whether you’re compliant with local regulations.

Essential Scalloping Gear

A picture of Crystal River Florida Fishing Adventures What Do You Need to Go Scalloping in 2024?

Q: What Gear Do I Need to Go Scalloping?

A: Here’s a quick list of the essential gear you’ll need for a successful trip this 2024 scalloping season:

  1. Mask: To help you see clearly underwater.
  2. Snorkel: Allows you to breathe while your face is submerged.
  3. Fins: Aid in efficient movement through the water.
  4. Scallop Bag: For collecting and storing your scallops.
  5. Gloves: Optional—but can protect your hands from sharp shells and underwater hazards.
  6. Swimsuit: Comfortable swimwear suitable for spending time in the water.
  7. Dive Flag: To signal your presence to other boaters for safety.

Note: When you book a scalloping trip with Florida Fishing Adventures, we provide you with all the necessary gear, including masks, snorkels, fins, and scallop bags. This means you don’t need to worry about purchasing or bringing your own equipment—we’ve got everything covered so you can focus on the adventure and fun of scalloping!

First time scalloping, and not sure where to start? Here are some tips for selecting your gear:


A high-quality mask is critical for visibility underwater. Here are some tips for choosing the right mask:

  • Fit: Make sure the mask fits snugly on your face. Place the mask on your face without using the strap and inhale through your nose. If the mask stays in place, it’s a good fit.
  • Comfort: Look for a mask with a comfortable silicone skirt that creates a good seal around your face.
  • Visibility: A mask with a wide field of vision will help you spot scallops more easily.


A snorkel allows you to breathe while keeping your face submerged. Consider these features:

  • Mouthpiece: Choose a snorkel with a comfortable mouthpiece that fits well in your mouth.
  • Splash Guard: A dry-top snorkel with a splash guard will prevent water from entering the tube, making breathing easier.
  • Purge Valve: A purge valve at the bottom of the snorkel allows you to expel any water that enters the snorkel.


Fins help you move efficiently through the water. Here’s what to look for:

  • Fit: Fins should fit snugly but not too tight. Try them on with the booties or socks you plan to wear.
  • Type: Shorter fins are great for calm waters, providing good maneuverability. Longer fins are better for stronger currents, offering more power with each kick.

Scallop Bag

You’ll need a mesh bag to collect your scallops. Here’s what to consider:

  • Size: Make sure the bag is large enough to hold a good amount of scallops but not too bulky to carry.
  • Material: Mesh bags are preferred as they allow water to drain out, keeping your catch fresh.
  • Attachment: Look for a bag with a sturdy clip or carabiner so you can attach it to your gear, keeping your hands free.

Gloves (Optional)

While gloves are optional, they can protect your hands from sharp shells and other underwater hazards:

  • Material: Lightweight, durable gloves made of neoprene or a similar material are ideal.
  • Fit: Gloves should fit snugly without restricting movement.

Face Preparation

While it’s not 100% required to shave before going scalloping, if you have facial hair, consider these tips:

  • Beard and Mustache: Facial hair can cause mask leaks. Shaving or trimming your beard and mustache close can help create a better seal.
  • Shaving Alternatives: If you prefer not to shave, using a mask sealant or silicone grease can help prevent leaks.

Final Gear Tips & Recommendations

  • Mask Fit: Before you buy a mask, test it for fit by placing it on your face without using the strap. Inhale through your nose to create suction. If the mask stays on your face without falling, it fits well.
  • Snorkel Comfort: Choose a snorkel with a flexible tube and a comfortable mouthpiece. Dry-top snorkels are a good option as they prevent water from entering the tube.
  • Fins Selection: When selecting fins, consider the type of water you’ll be in. Shorter fins are great for calm waters, while longer fins are better for stronger currents.
  • Scallop Bags: Opt for a mesh bag with a sturdy clip or carabiner so you can attach it to your belt or gear—keeping your hands free for catching more delicious bay scallops!

A picture of Crystal River Florida Fishing Adventures What Do You Need to Go Scalloping in 2024?

Crystal River Scalloping Charters from Florida Fishing Adventures

Florida Fishing Adventures is your go-to provider for fishing and scalloping charters. When you book a scalloping trip with us, we supply all the necessary licensing and equipment, making sure that you have a fun, hassle-free time in the water.

We also offer combo charters that include scalloping and fishing, giving you the best of both worlds!

Ready to Book Your Scalloping Trip?

If you’re ready to dive into the scalloping experience, check out the Crystal River Scalloping Charters available from Florida Fishing Adventures. Their scalloping charters are designed to provide everything you need for a memorable day on the water. From high-quality gear to expert guidance, they have you covered.

Reserve your scalloping charter or fishing/scalloping combo charter with Florida Fishing Adventures today, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in the clear, beautiful waters of Florida’s Nature Coast! Click here to book your trip online.

Eric Bonneman

Just a guy who fishes and writes about his experiences.

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