Coast Guard to step up enforcement on drifting vessels

SEATTLE – The Coast Guard has become aware that some fishermen engage in the practice of working all day and, then in the evening, allowing their vessels to drift while the entire crew sleeps.

This practice is dangerous and is a violation of basic seamanship rules. This rule known as the “Look-out rule” is listed as the 5th rule in the International Regulations for Prevention of Collisions at Sea (COLREGS.)

Rule 5 states, “Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision.”

While conducting normal patrols, Coast Guard units and cutters will be looking for vessels that are in violation of the look-out rule, violations could be issued for those found drifting while sleeping at night. The maximum fine for violating the look-out rule is $6500.

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