Commercial fishing vessel examiners see increase in non-CG approved equipment

SEATTLE — Coast Guard commercial fishing vessel dockside examiners are starting to see an increasing number of inflatable survival craft installed on some commercial fishing vessels that are not Coast Guard-approved.

Non-Coast Guard approved life rafts may pose a danger to commercial fishing vessel operators and their crews during emergencies at sea.

These life rafts are not acceptable for survival craft required to meet commercial fishing vessel safety regulations. Commercial fishermen may be purchasing these inflatable survival craft thinking they meet the requirements.

“The survival craft we are seeing are less expensive than the Coast Guard-approved versions, often built by the same manufacturers but not to the same standards”, said Mike Rudolph with the Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Program in Portland, Oregon. “The regulations specifically state that all survival craft required aboard commercial fishing vessels be Coast Guard approved.”

Vessel owners and operators will want to make sure they have only approved safety equipment on board their vessels. When purchasing a survival craft for your vessel, make sure it is a Coast Guard-approved piece of equipment. The device will have a Coast Guard approval number on it.

If you have any questions or you would like to get a free courtesy dockside safety check to ensure your vessel has the required safety equipment, please contact Mr. Dan Hardin, Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Coordinator for the Thirteenth Coast Guard District, in Seattle, at (206) 220-7226 or

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