Dockside safety exams encouraged before rule change

The U.S. Coast Guard is urging owners and operators of commercial fishing vessel to get a dockside safety exam before those examinations become mandatory for some vessels this month.

The 2010 Coast Guard Authorization Act requires “commercial fishing, fish tender and fish processing vessels that operate more than three miles from the territorial sea baseline or, that carry more than 16 individuals anywhere or, fish tender vessels engaged in the Aleutian Trade Act” to complete a biennial dockside safety exam by Oct. 15.

Vessels that is required to have a mandatory examination but has successfully completed one since Jan. 1, 2013, will not be required to have another for five years from the date of the last exam — unless the Coast Guard changes the interval between examinations.

“The Coast Guard encourages all fishermen to receive their examination sooner rather than later,” said Scott Wilwert, Coast Guard 17th District Fishing Vessel Safety Program manager. “There are a few other items fishermen should keep in mind that hinge on them maintaining a current dockside examination decal, such as insurance coverage, vessel owner association memberships, vessel of opportunity participation, NMFS Observer carriage requirements and exemptions from certain regulations.”

To arrange for an exam or obtain more information to ensure compliance, contact the Coast Guard 17th District commercial fishing vessel safety office at (907) 463-2810. The examiner in Juneau can be reached at (907) 463-2448.

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