Safety equipment deadlines for commercial fishing vessels are coming soon – so plan ahead!

The May issue of National Fisherman has a Boats & Gear column titled “Deadlines a-coming” in which Michael Crowley details the 4 safety deadlines that are coming into effect in the next 10 months for commercial fishing vessels.  These deadlines are:

  • October 15, 2015 – all commercial fishing vessels operating more than 3 miles offshore must have completed a dockside safety examination by the Coast Guard. If you’re found beyond 3 miles without a safety decal – the Coast Guard may order you back to port until you are in compliance with all of the applicable safety requirements.
  • January 20, 2016 – all commercial fishing vessels over 300 gross tons must have upgraded their VHF radios to be equipped with Digital Selective Calling (DSC). This will allow someone on a vessel in distress to hit a “red button” to send out an emergency distress signal.  If it is connected to a GPS – the vessel’s location will also be transmitted.
  • February 16, 2016 – all commercial fishing vessels that are required to have survival craft must have craft that will keep people out of the water.
  • March 20, 2016 – all commercial fishing vessels that are 65 feet in length or more (about 2,900 vessels) must have an Automatic Identification System transponder. This will allow a vessel’s location to be plotted on the electronic chart on other vessels to help prevent collisions.

The complete article can be found at this link.

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3 comments

  • I would like clarification. Will the entire article explain how

    * February 16, 2016 – all commercial fishing vessels that are required to have survival craft must have craft that will keep people out of the water.

    Is a federal law and not CG regulation?

    Brian Flowers Vice President of Operations Life Raft + Survival Equipment Inc 590 Fish Road Tiverton, RI 02878 Main Office 401-816-5400 Cell Phone 401-225-2452 Fax 401-816-5411 Email brian@lrse.com Web http://www.lrse.com

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    • Brian —

      Thanks for that question. The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 required all “survival craft” to provide out of the water protection. It prohibited the Coast Guard from approving any new craft after Oct 2010 that did not provide out of the water protection – but allowed existing survival craft to be used for about 5 years. The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2012 extended the deadline until 2016. So it’s the law – and hopefully the Coast Guard will issue a notice so that everyone can plan for the 2016 deadline. You may want to read my other blog stories on this topic – which go into more detail.

      John

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