Don’t Have Your Voyage Terminated!

LOS ANGELES, Calif – The headline last week read “Coast Guard Cutter Blackfin Terminates the Voyage of Fishing Vessel” this was after a Coast Guard boarding team discovered the vessel was operating without the minimum required safety equipment. The vessel was escorted back to its port after the voyage was terminated. “Our boarding team determined the vessel was operating without life jackets, an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB ), sufficient firefighting equipment, life rafts, or a working high water alarm. In essence it was a disaster waiting to happen,” said Lt. Brian Whisler, commanding officer of the Blackfin.

U.S. Coast Guard Boarding Officers routinely conduct safety boardings of recreational boats and commercial fishing boats to ensure the vessels are safe for sea. If a vessel being operated is determined to be unsafe, its voyage may be terminated by the Coast Guard.

One way operators of both commercial fishing and recreational boats can ensure their boats are operating with the minimum safety equipment is to take advantage of a free vessel safety check.

The Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary offer free “no fault” commercial fishing vessel dockside safety exams. These free examinations are thorough vessel checks that examine all safety equipment. The presence of a valid examination decal may reduce the chances of a vessel being boarded or greatly reduce the at-sea boarding time spent on safety checks. The examination is designed to educate the fishing public and to ensure vessel safety. There is no penalty for not passing the exam. However, if the exam is passed, a decal is issued indicating the vessel is in compliance with all applicable Coast Guard regulations. To schedule a free Commercial Fishing Vessel Dockside Safety Exam visit http://www.fishsafe.info/.

For recreational boaters the Coast Guard Auxiliary offers free vessel safety checks and just like commercial fishing vessel dockside exams there is no penalty for not passing the exam. However, if the exam is passed, a decal is also issued indicating the boat is in compliance. For more information about free vessel safety checks for recreational boats visit http://www.vesselsafetycheck.org/GetVSC/.

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed civilian component of the United States Coast Guard. Created by an Act of Congress in 1939, the Auxiliary directly supports the Coast Guard in all missions, except military and direct law enforcement actions.

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