If you have hotel guest or other friends onboard it is big time against the law.
Ragman mentioned that he has a friend who will not pick him up from his dock for snorkeling so as to preclude accusations and reprisals against his friend (not a guide) from tour guides. He stated this practice was not to hide any infraction of law. Tour guides appear to be fairly jealous of their trade. Cant say that I blame them.
So far I have never seen any citation limiting passengers to family only; whether you're in the reserve or not. You would simply need to pay the fee when in the reserve. The only requirement I can find is that a daily use fee must be paid either by obtaining a ticket at the offices or from a ranger when in the reserve. Failure to pay that use fee would be a violation.
I note that people have complained ahere and elsewhare about the application of that fee requiremtnent when it comes to its applicablity to residents/citizens of Belize. Whether I would argue the legal basis of either citizen use fees or non family members in my boat with a Ranger on the water is another matter. If I deemed that discretion were the better part of valor and retired from the field so to speak, I would proabably take it up with the reserve's manager. Diplomatically of course, and in a fashion which afforded maintaining face.
Based on the laws I found: If you operate a boat you must have your Captain's license. You have to have a Captain's license to operate a boat whether you have a Tour Guide's license or not. You must have a captains license if you fish from your boat, commercially or otherwise. Only a citizen resident of Belize can obtain a Tour Guides license.
As usual, I'm more than willing to be shown my errors. In fact at this point I'd love it if someone could show me where the requiremnt to hire a guide for HCMR is coming from. I suspect there may be something out there but its pretty well hidden...
180 out from what I thought yesterday...