Coast Guard to conduct safety checks for Dungeness crab season 2010

Dockside Exam Decal

USCG file photo

MCKINLEYVILLE, Calif – On November 9th through the 11th U.S. Coast Guard personnel will be conducting dockside exams and safety spot-checks in various Humboldt, Del Norte and Mendocino County ports prior to the opening of Dungeness crab season.

The most dangerous job in America continues to be commercial crab fishing.  Every year, California fishermen lose their lives during crab season, and West Coast crabbing vessels continue to have the highest fatality rate of any West Coast fishery.

This outreach effort is part of the Coast Guard’s Operation Safe Crab, an initiative started to reduce the loss of lives and fishing vessels in the West Coast crab fleet.  California’s crab season is scheduled to begin on November 15th for all California Marine Districts except 6, 7, 8, and 9.  Districts 6, 7, 8, and 9 will open on December 1st.

Since Operation Safe Crab’s inception, Coast Guard personnel have walked the docks and spot-checked crab vessels for the required primary lifesaving equipment, pot-loading practices affecting stability and vessel watertight integrity.  These safety checks have greatly reduced the number of potential casualties. For example, previous year’s statistics show that nearly one-third of all EPIRB’s (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons) and life rafts were installed incorrectly.  This type of situation is easily corrected on the spot, and has helped prevent needless tragedies at sea for California’s crab fleet.

California crab fishermen are strongly encouraged to contact their local Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety dockside examiner with any questions.  Implemented in 1991, the Coast Guard’s Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Program is designed to help commercial fishermen identify and eliminate potential safety hazards.  Free vessel safety assessments, EPIRB testing, training on stability, safety drills and damage control, as well as required placards and literature are available.   Successful completion of a dockside exam can also make any future Coast Guard boarding at sea greatly abbreviated.

For more information Contact:
U. S. Coast Guard Group Humboldt Bay
Curtis Barthel
1001 Lycoming Way
McKinleyville, CA  95519
Phone: 707-839-6589

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