Cutter Blackfin Terminates Voyage of Fishing Vessel for Safety Violations

SANTA BARBABA, Calif (D11 Public Affairs) – The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Blackfin terminated the voyage of a 39-foot fishing vessel 20 miles southwest of Santa Barbara yesterday.

The Coast Guard boarding team discovered the vessel was operating without the minimum required safety equipment. The vessel was escorted to Santa Barbara 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.

The Blackfin is an 87-foot patrol boat based out of Santa Barbara, Calif. The Blackfin conducts safety boardings of recreational boats and commercial fishing boats to ensure the vessels are safe for sea. The unit’s primary missions are search and rescue, maritime law enforcement and Homeland Security.

Boardings of commercial fishing industry vessels are routinely conducted by the Coast Guard. One part of the boarding officer’s responsibility is to assess whether a vessel may present an especially hazardous condition warranting termination of the voyage.

The Coast Guard’s outreach program, known as the Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety (CFVS) Program, has established a presence on the Internet at, in an effort to meet the goal of reducing fatalities in the fishing community. The site provides a wealth of information and aids in the communication between the Coast Guard and the commercial fishing industry.

Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Program coordinators and examiners are available throughout the country and ready to assist in overcoming challenges, including managing risk and balancing demands, to attain full compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

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 your free Commercial Fishing Vessel Dockside Safety Exam visit

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