Boating safety emphasized at start of salmon season

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ALAMEDA, Calif. — To coincide with the start of this year’s recreational salmon season May 10, the Coast Guard will be conducting Commercial Fishing Vessel safety spot-checks and encouraging voluntary dockside exams April 29-30, 2014 in fishing harbors throughout Northern California.

Nationally, Safe Boating Week is the week before Memorial Day but in order to be ready for a safe salmon season the Coast Guard is pushing boating safety early.  This outreach effort is part of the Coast Guard’s “Operation Safe Salmon”, conducted prior to local commercial salmon fishery season to reduce the potential for loss of lives and fishing vessels in the West Coast salmon fleet.

Coast Guard personnel will be walking the docks and conducting safety checks vessels for the required primary lifesaving equipment and vessel watertight integrity. These safety checks can help reduce potential casualties. For example, previous years statistics have shown nearly one-third of EPIRBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons) and life rafts were installed and registered improperly. This type of situation is easily corrected on the spot, preventing needless tragedies at sea. These are no-fault safety spot checks. Fishing vessels boarded at sea with serious safety discrepancies can be restricted from operating until the discrepancies are corrected.

California commercial salmon fishermen are strongly encouraged to contact their local Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety dockside examiner with questions. Implemented in 1991, the Coast Guard’s Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Program is designed to help commercial fishermen identify and eliminate potential safety hazards. Free vessel safety exams as well as required placards and literature are available. Successful completion of a dockside exam can also make any future Coast Guard boarding at sea greatly abbreviated.

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