Coast Guard highlights fishing vessel safety in Prince William Sound

VALDEZ, Alaska – Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Valdez recently kicked off its 2010 voluntary dockside commercial fishing vessel safety examination and safety compliance check initiatives in an effort to advance safety within the commercial fishing vessel fleet.

Coast Guard examiners will be available in Cordova beginning April 26 through May 22 for all commercial fishing vessel operators that are interested in scheduling a free voluntary dockside CFV safety exam. In Valdez examiners are available throughout the year.

Voluntary dockside CFV safety exams are no fault and non-adversarial, serving to encourage compliance and discourage unsafe operations. Vessels not passing an examination will be provided a work list identifying deficiencies and items needing to be corrected for the vessel to be in full compliance with all applicable Federal Regulations. Successful completion of the exam results in issuance of a CFV safety decal.

In addition, safety compliance checks on vessels not currently enrolled in the voluntary dockside CFV safety program will be conducted. Safety compliance checks are non-voluntary and focus on primary lifesaving and firefighting equipment aboard commercial fishing vessels in port. These checks are aimed to ensure critical safety items are ready for use should an at-sea emergency occur. Vessels possessing current CFV safety decals will not be selected for safety compliance checks.

Vessels that receive a safety compliance check and are found to have a major safety violation will be restricted from commercial fishing operations until the discrepancy is corrected and verified by a Coast Guard examiner. In 2009, five commercial fishing vessels were temporarily restricted from operation.

This outreach is part of the 17th Coast Guard District’s initiative to reduce the number of lives and vessels lost at sea.

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