After a long delay, California’s commercial Dungeness crab season is scheduled to begin Saturday at 12:01 a.m. in the waters south of the Sonoma/Mendocino line and north of Pt. Piedros. Pots can go into the water at 6:01 a.m. Friday.
In previous years, statistics show nearly one-third of EPIRBs and life rafts carried onboard California’s commercial crab fleet were incorrectly installed. This type of situation is easily corrected and critical in preventing loss of life at sea. Those vessels with serious safety discrepancies, such as overloading of pots, instability, lack of watertight integrity, missing primary life saving equipment or non-functioning EPIRB’s, can be restricted from operating by the Coast Guard until the discrepancies are corrected.
All California commercial crab fishermen are strongly encouraged to contact their local Coast Guard commercial fishing vessel safety examiner with any questions about safety and applicable federal regulations prior to the opener. Implemented in 1991, the Coast Guard’s Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Program is designed to help commercial fishermen identify and eliminate potential safety hazards. The successful completion of a dockside exam can also make any future Coast Guard at-sea boarding greatly abbreviated.