In advance of this year’s Bristol Bay salmon season, the U.S. Coast Guard has begun conducting courtesy dockside exams of commercial fishing vessels, while the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association is offering maritime safety education to fishermen in Western Alaska and Bristol Bay.
Examiners will look to identify safety issues before mariners leave the dock and won’t issue fines or other penalties for any problems at the dock or before launch, according to the USCG. The exams will note flares, charts, navigational signals, fire extinguishers, emergency radio beacons and the serviceability of immersion suits, among other items.
Exams are being offered June 14-25 at Dillingham, Egegik and King Salmon. To schedule an exam in Dillingham, call (907) 764-5071 and for an appointment in Egegik, the number is (907) 538-8062. For an exam in King Salmon, call (907) 717-6270 or (907) 538-9748.
Fishermen can run a ring buoy up on the mast or on the anchor/bow to show they are ready for an exam.
Russ Hazlett, a fishing vessel safety examiner at Sector Anchorage, noted that these exams are free, ensure compliance with all federal regulations and can reduce the likelihood of getting boarded at sea so long as the vessel passes and earns a decal.
Mariners may also sign up for one-day fishing vessel drill conductor classes on June 10-11 in Naknek and on June 12-13 in Dillingham. Visit https://www.amsea.org/ or call (907) 747-3287 for more.
Jerry Dzugan, executive director of AMSEA, notes that the course provides a comprehensive, hands-on, maritime lifesaving education in a short amount of time.
For more on how to prepare for a vessel exam, visit http://www.fishsafewest.info/.
To make an appointment for a vessel exam at other locations, contact any of the following USCG marine safety offices:
- Marine Safety Unit Valdez: (907) 835-7220
- Marine Safety Detachment Dutch Harbor: (907) 581-3466
- Marine Safety Detachment Kodiak: (907) 486-5918
- Marine Safety Detachment Seward: (907) 224-4784
- Marine Safety Detachment Homer: (907) 235-3292
- Marine Safety Detachment Sitka: (907) 966-5454
- Marine Safety Detachment Ketchikan: (907) 225-4496