Coast Guard to provide free boat safety examinations for Bristol Bay salmon fishing vessels

17th Coast Guard District News
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Coast Guard is offering courtesy dockside examinations for commercial fishing vessels in Bristol Bay in anticipation of the 2011 Bristol Bay salmon fishery.

The Coast Guard is sending examiners to Dillingham and King Salmon to begin dockside examinations starting June 11 thru June 23. The Coast Guard will also be working with the Alaska State Troopers to ensure the fishery is carried out safely.

Examiners will be going from boatyard to boatyard in the King Salmon, Dillingham, and surrounding locations to conduct exams. The signal used to indicate a vessel is ready for an exam will be to raise a ring buoy up the vessel’s mast in a highly visible location. Fishermen can also sign up for an exam by calling Coast Guard Sector Anchorage, at (907) 271-6700, or by speaking directly with one of the Coast Guard examiners working in Dillingham and King Salmon’s harbors.

These free exams give fishermen an opportunity to find and address any safety issues that may be present before they get underway. The examiners will not issue fines or other penalties for any problems discovered at the dock. The exams focus on safety items such as flares, communications equipment, fire extinguishers, emergency position indicating radio beacons and the serviceability of immersion suits to name a few.

Each vessel that passes a dockside exam earns a decal. Fishermen operating vessels with recently-issued decals benefit by being less likely to have to suspend fishing operations to accommodate an at-sea Coast Guard or Alaska State Trooper law enforcement boarding.

Coast Guard enforcement assets will be on scene during the opener and into the season to ensure the safety of all vessels working on the water. The Alaska State Troopers will be running fisheries enforcement operations concurrently with the Coast Guard.

The number of lives lost during Alaska fisheries has been in decline since the adoption of the Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Act of 1988. The leading cause of fatalities in the commercial fishing industry is drowning due to the loss of a fishing vessel. However, man overboards are still a serious concern.

Of the 641 deaths that occurred among fishermen in the United States from 1994 to 2004, 138 (30 percent) resulted from a fall overboard.

It is recommended that all fishermen wear personal flotation devices when on the deck of any vessel. The extremely cold temperatures of Alaskan waters coupled with weather conditions and vast distances from shore are a deadly combination for an unprepared mariner.

For more fisheries safety information contact Chief Petty Officer Jon Jones at 907-317-8699

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