Commercial Fishing Vessel Dockside Examinations – Here is an online checklist of requirements
After many deaths, capsizings, and sinkings of commercial fishing vessels in the 1980’s, representatives of fishing vessel owners, the Coast Guard, and the Congress worked together to develop safety standards for commercial fishing vessels. Most of these standards were focused on helping the crew on fishing vessels survive the disaster – such as by requiring Emergency Position Indicating Beacons (EPIRBs) and immersion suits. This culminated in the enactment of the Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Act of 1988.
The Coast Guard did not believe that they had the legal authority to enforce these requirements dockside. They believed that they could only conduct at-sea boardings to determine compliance with the requirements. If a vessel was not in compliance – they could (and often times did) order the vessel back to port until it was in compliance. To help the vessel owner avoid having his fishing vessel sent back to port, the Coast Guard developed a voluntary dockside examination program to determine compliance with the legal requirements. If the vessel passed the exam it was issued a decal evidencing compliance.
The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 provided the Coast Guard with the legal authority to make dockside examinations mandatory for all fishing vessels. On October 15, 2015 the Coast Guard will begin enforcing the mandatory dockside examinations.
To aid the owner in knowing what the requirements are for a particular type of commercial fishing vessel the Coast Guard has developed an online tool that allows the owner to input the specifications of their vessel – and the software will generate a list of the applicable requirements.
The Commercial Fishing Industry Vessel Checklist Generator is at this link.
Don’t lose days of fishing by being sent back to the dock – beat the rush – and get your exam NOW!