Thursday, October 4, 2012

Commercial fishing vessel safety exam becomes mandatory beginning October 16th

If you operate a commercial fishing vessel that operates beyond 3 nautical miles from shore, the coast guard wants to remind you that a commercial fishing vessel safety exam will be required beginning October 16th.
The dockside exam has been administered for more than a decade on a voluntary basis, but it will be required after October 16th and affects commercial fishing vessels nationwide.
The examination is free of charge and covers regulatory topics including: lifesaving equipment, communications, firefighting and various other operational readiness measures. 
Vessels that pass the exam are awarded a decal noting compliance with applicable regulations, which remains valid for up to two years.
Currently, no fines are assessed if discrepancies are noted when a vessel receives a voluntary dockside safety exam. 
However, after October 16, a vessel found operating beyond three nautical miles offshore without a valid decal may be subject to enforcement action.
If you need to schedule one of the dockside exams, you can call the Coast Guard marine Safety Detachment in Panama city at 850-233-0366. e-mail with comments