Recommended safety precautions during Dungeness crab season – fishermens news

A 47-foot motor lifeboat from the US Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment prepares to enter the surf zone off the Washington coast. USCG Photo by Petty Officer Steve Strohmaier.

Coast Guard officials are urging fishermen to take safety precautions when crossing dangerous bars during the commercial Dungeness crab season that is currently underway.

Investigators with the Coast Guard’s Maritime Safety Unit in Portland said they had responded to more than 200 marine accidents so far this year, many of those incidents involving commercial fishing vessels.

When unsafe conditions exist at the bar, the Coast Guard prohibits the passage of pleasure craft and passenger vessels not inspected based on their size.

When conditions exceed the operating parameters of Coast Guard search and rescue resources, the helm is closed and no vessel is permitted to cross, unless expressly authorized by the harbor master.

Bar closures are announced via a broadcast notice to mariners on VHF-FM channels 16 and 22A. Surveillance cameras and associated websites before setting out can provide mariners with additional information in certain locations.

Commercial fishermen should advise the Coast Guard on these canals before crossing a restricted bar between sunset and sunrise, to provide their vessel’s name, position, number of people on board, destination and vessel limitations. ship. After crossing, they must report if it was a safe transit.

Life jackets or immersion suits should be readily available to all on board in all confined spaces of ships when crossing the bar with restrictions in place. Life jackets are also required whenever a vessel is towed or when escorted through the bar by the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard warns that failure to meet these requirements can result in a civil penalty of up to $ 25,000.

When crossing the bar or the canal, vessels cannot circulate with the “work lights” on. Vessels found in violation of this regulation are liable to a fine of up to $ 2,164. In addition, all vessels must maintain appropriate visual and auditory surveillance as well as by “all available means”, which means effective use of available instruments and equipment, in addition to the use of sight and hearing. . Vessels that violate these regulations face a fine of up to $ 15,173.

Lt. Carl Eschler, head of the investigation division at MSU Portland, observed that the pandemic has negatively impacted many fishermen financially.

“The announcement of the start of the Dungeness 2021-2022 commercial season which will open without delay on December 1 for the first time in seven years will mean a brighter Christmas for many,” Eschler said. “The fresh crab may be on the table for Christmas for the first time in years, and the Coast Guard wants everyone to enjoy it.”

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Susan W. Lloyd