National Fisherman’s June issue has a story on the pending classification and load line regulations for new commercial fishing boats (page 34). Those regulations are part of a larger group of requirements that started out with the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 and were followed by the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2012.
Fishermen need to pay attention to these regulations, as they will be affected in terms of money and time. For instance, existing boats 79 feet or greater in length that undergo a major conversion will be required to comply with alternate load-line regulations; boats operating outside of three miles will be required to have a complete record of equipment maintenance and drills; boats will be required to have a dockside exam once every five years. (The Coast Guard says only 10 percent of boats have a dockside exam each year.)
The skipper operating outside of three miles must take a training program. In terms of safety standards, there will no longer be a difference between state-registered and federally documented boats. That means state registered boats will have to pack more expensive — but probably more reliable — safety gear. And that cellular telephone you’ve been passing off as your form of emergency communications — not allowed. It must be a “marine radio.”
Click here for a summary on the Coast Guard’s update of commercial fishing vessel requirements that was released by the North Pacific Fishing Vessel Owners Association to its members on March 12, 2013.