Coast Guard Offers Dockside Exams to Ensure Safe Tanner Crab Opening

JUNEAU, Alaska – The Coast Guard will offer courtesy dockside examinations of commercial fishing vessels in Hoonah, Juneau, Petersburg and Sitka in anticipation of the annual tanner crab season, which is slated to open on Feb. 12, 2008.

As most of the vessels in the tanner crab fleet will gather in Petersburg, three teams of Coast Guard examiners will be available there from Monday, Feb. 4, 2008 through Friday, Feb. 8, 2008. Petersburg fishermen can sign up for an exam in the harbormaster’s office by calling Coast Guard Auxiliarist Brad Wells at (907) 518-0559, or by speaking directly with one of the Coast Guard examiners working in the harbor. Fishermen in Juneau and Hoonah may schedule an exam by calling Coast Guard Fishing Vessel Coordinator Larry Snyder at (907) 463-2448 or (907) 957-0153. Fishermen in Sitka should contact Chief Warrant Officer Scott Durrer at (907) 966-5454. Vessels participating in the tanner crab opening will have priority in scheduling, though operators of other commercial fishing vessels may request courtesy dockside exams as well.

The courtesy dockside examination program offers fishermen an opportunity to work with Coast Guard representatives to ensure that their vessels meet Federal safety regulations. The examiners will not issue fines or other penalties for any problems they discover at the dock. Each vessel that passes a dockside exam earns a dated decal. Fishermen operating vessels with recently-issued decals benefit by being less likely to have to suspend fishing operations to accommodate an at-sea Coast Guard law enforcement boarding.

Last year, 55 commercial fishing vessels earned decals in the week prior to the tanner crab opener, and no casualties occurred during the tanner crab season. This success is in keeping with Coast Guard Sector Juneau’s motto “Preventing Tomorrow’s Response.”

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