Coast Guard inspectors help ensure safety of the Nome gold rush

Coast Guard Alaska NewsANCHORAGE, Alaska – Coast Guard inspectors finished their weekend operations to provide voluntary gold dredge safety examinations in Nome on Monday.

Two Coast Guard inspectors, one from Coast Guard Sector Anchorage and one from the 17th District offices in Juneau, provided the free safety exams as a culmination to their efforts, over the last several months, to increase water safety awareness amongst the more than 80 registered gold dredge operators in Nome.

Coast Guard concern for safety came to a height after a dredge diver died in 2011. Since the tragedy, Coast Guard officials have developed and conducted extensive information and outreach efforts with the owners, operators and community officials of Nome.

“A modern day gold rush is underway in Nome with a boom in the numbers of off shore gold dredges being operated here,” said Lt. William Albright, Sector Anchorage Investigations Division chief. “With the explosion of interest and the resulting numbers of vessels, we are dedicated to ensuring water safety of all mariners in Nome.”

The free safety exams included identifying and ensuring that all required safety gear such as lifejackets, flares, and fire extinguishers are readily available and in good working order. If an owner or operator was missing any required equipment, they were encouraged to fix the situation and reschedule an exam.

Upon successful completion of the dredge exam, an identification sticker was provided to identify that the vessel had been inspected and had passed the voluntary exam.

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