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Coast Guard begins mandatory dockside examinations of commercial fishing vessels

The Coast Guard is scheduled to conduct Operation Get Decal, performing mandatory dockside examinations of Dungeness crab vessels at ports throughout Washington and Oregon, Monday through Friday.

The goal is to ensure Dungeness crab fishing vessels comply with Coast Guard safety standards prior to the normal season opening of December 1.

Commercial fishing vessels operating beyond three miles from shore without a valid dockside exam decal will be issued a warning letter.

According to a study done by the National Institute for Occupation Safety and Health the west coast Dungeness crab fishery is the most dangerous in the country, including all Alaska fisheries.

The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 requires all commercial fishing vessels operating beyond three miles from shore to complete a mandatory dockside exam.  Coast Guard examiners will be available at ports along the Oregon and Washington coasts to conduct exams to ensure vessels have all the required safety equipment. In the past, dockside exams were conducted on a voluntary basis.

Fishermen can use the Coast Guard’s online checklist generator to prepare for an exam.  By answering questions about their vessel, the checklist generator provides a list of items that can be used to prepare for a dockside exam.  See it at www.uscg.mil/d13/cfvs.

Questions regarding Operation Get Decal should be directed to Dan Hardin, the 13th Coast Guard District’s fishing vessel safety coordinator, at 206-220-7226, or Daniel.E.Hardin@uscg.mil.

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