Coast Guard ramps up safety checks for fishermen in preparation for Dungeness Crab Season

Mr. Michael Mitchell, a Coast Guard marine inspector, explains what to look for while inspecting a life ring in San Francisco, Nov. 8, 2016. This inspection was in part of Coast Guard's Operation Safe Crab, which is an outreach initiative to reduce the loss of lives and fishing vessels in the West Coast crab fleet. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Adam Stanton.

Mr. Michael Mitchell, a Coast Guard marine inspector, explains what to look for while inspecting a life ring in San Francisco, Nov. 8, 2016.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Adam Stanton.

SAN FRANCISCO — Coast Guard personnel began conducting dockside exams and safety spot-checks Tuesday in San Francisco to identify discrepancies aboard fishing vessels prior to the Dungeness Crab season.

The checks are scheduled to continue through Thursday at commercial fishing ports from Monterey to Crescent City and are part of the Coast Guard’s Operation Safe Crab, which is an outreach initiative to reduce the loss of lives and fishing vessels in the West Coast crab fleet.

Since Operation Safe Crab’s inception, Coast Guard personnel have walked the docks and spot-checked crab vessels for the required primary lifesaving equipment, pot-loading practices affecting stability and vessel watertight integrity. These safety checks are conducted in an attempt to reduce the number of crab-fishing casualties.

In previous years, many emergency position-indicating radio beacons and life rafts were found to be installed incorrectly, a situation that is often able to be corrected on the spot. Crab vessels with serious safety discrepancies, such as overloading, lack of watertight integrity and missing primary lifesaving equipment, can be restricted from operating until discrepancies are corrected.

California crab fishermen are strongly encouraged to contact their local Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety dockside examiner with any 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. Successful completion of a dockside exam may also make any future Coast Guard boardings at sea greatly abbreviated.

Fishermen can go to https://www.uscg.mil/d13/cfvs/test/1ChecklistCover.html to download a list of actions they can take to prepare for the Dungeness Crab season, which include topics such as documentation, navigation equipment, lifesaving equipment and firefighting equipment.

California’s crab season typically begins Nov. 15 for the Central coast, Avila-Morro Bay to the mouth of the Russian River, and Dec. 1 for the Northern coast, Fort Bragg to the Oregon border.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, commercial crab fishing continues to be an inherently dangerous job. Every year, California fishermen’s lives are in danger during crab season with West Coast crabbing vessels having a historically high fatality rate.

For more information, contact Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety personnel at the Coast Guard Sector San Francisco’s Prevention Department:

* David Cripe: (831) 647-7357 for Monterey, Moss Landing and Santa Cruz

* Manny Ramirez: (415) 399-7310 for HMB, San Francisco and Bodega Bay

* John Giles: (707) 269-2577 for Fort Bragg, Eureka and Crescent City

Related Posts

Comments are closed.