Matt Marinkovich’s weekly At Sea Diary entry is a popular feature of the National Fisherman Web site, and now you can post your own reflections on Matt’s experiences fishing in the Pacific Northwest and North Pacific.
Written by Jen Finn
March 9-May 4, 2008 — When we were in Seward during our April 5 delivery, Mike cracked right into the light project. To solve the problem he fabricated an aluminum pipe with flanges on each end that extended the red light 3 feet above the white.
The problem was that the red light had a solid brass housing, and therefore weighed too much to be mounted on the end of that lightweight, unsupported aluminum extension. But the solution was simple enough; he ordered a plastic light fixture from Seattle Marine, then we went out fishing and planned on finishing the job the next time we delivered.
When we returned to Seward for the April 13 delivery, the light had not arrived. Mike checked, and found it had been Goldstreaked (Alaska Airline's high-speed shipping service) to Anchorage, but since Goldstreak doesn't service Seward, they sent it to Fairbanks instead (I guess they had to send it somewhere).
Mike asked them to send it via UPS or regular mail, but they refused, saying they don't provide that service. When Mike suggested sending it via sled dog, the Goldstreak service representative hung up on him. So Mike called Seattle Marine again, and this time told them to ship the item via regular mail.
In the mean time, Mike called the Coast Guard in Seward and asked for a safety inspection so they could verify the proper placement of the light, if it ever arrived. They explained they do not offer dockside safety inspections, but they could do a dockside boarding, which is the same as the at-sea boarding in which this whole fiasco started. They further explained that if they did the dockside boarding, they could not issue the safety sticker, but Mike would be subject to a fine if they found any deficiencies.
So now Mike was stuck in a catch-22. The first boarding required him to get a safety sticker to avoid a fine, but now there was no way to get the sticker, and if he had the Coast Guard verify the light placement, they were liable to find some other deficiency and start the whole process over again.
When we returned to Seward for our final delivery on Sunday, April 20, the new light finally arrived, and was waiting for us in RBS office. Mike made quick work of putting it all together, and after a day of troubleshooting to figure out the light globe was the wrong voltage, he finally got it working.
Since there was no point in having the Coast Guard verify that it worked, we left port with our red light ready to switch on when we started fishing. It wasn't until the Discovery was safely back in its home port of Port Townsend, Washington that the USCG finally issued the coveted safety sticker.
We were good for another two years!
TO BE CONTINUED...
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