Alaska Coast Guard marks 10th anniversary of 5-Star Program

JUNEAU, Alaska — Alaska’s unique voluntary 5-Star Safety Program for uninspected charter vessels is entering its second decade of operation which was cooperatively designed by the 17th Coast Guard District and the charter vessel industry recognizing operators who voluntarily increase their level of safety training and safety equipment while operating in harsh Alaskan waters.

Past marine accidents and Alaska’s operating environment pointed to the need for an increase in the level of safety equipment that extends beyond the minimum required by regulation.

Charter operators who choose to participate in the 5-Star Safety Program have met all the regulatory requirements, received the UPV decal, and have voluntarily invested in additional safety equipment.

“I want to commend the charter industry for their enthusiastic support of this voluntary examination program and I encourage all charter operators to participate,” said Rear Adm. Christopher C. Colvin, Coast Guard 17th District commander. “With our continued efforts, Alaska can be one of the safest tourist destinations in the industry.”

One safety star will be awarded for each safety item. A 1-star vessel would meet one of the requirements, while a 5-Star vessel would carry safety equipment substantially in excess of Coast Guard regulations, including an EPIRB, inflatable life raft or inflatable buoyant apparatus, back up handheld communications capability, and high water bilge alarms with high capacity bilge pump.

Alaska’s uninspected passenger vessel fleet has grown dramatically in the last decade from approximately 1,600 in 1999 to more than 3,000 in 2009.

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