Coast Guard Conducts Numerous Safety Escorts and Vessel Towing During First Week of Dungeness Crab Season | Local news
Coast Guard crews in the Pacific Northwest towed 10 broken down or distressed commercial fishing vessels to port in the first week of the Dungeness crab season which began on December 1.
These towing operations, along with numerous security escorts, ensured the safe passage of several fishing crews and over 100,000 pounds of crab, under dangerous helm conditions.
Coast Guard crews stationed at Grays Harbor, Cape Disappointment, Coos Bay and Chetco River contributed a total of 10 tows. Other ships were also escorted across the bar. These security escorts are carried out when dangerous conditions require it. The start of the Dungeness Crab season coincided with several bar restrictions due to the harsh conditions encountered in the bar.
When a helm restriction is in place, the operation of recreational and uninspected passenger vessels of the length specified in the restriction is prohibited unless expressly authorized by the Coast Guard.
In the event that a commercial fisherman intends to cross a bass while unsafe conditions exist, the Coast Guard recommends following at a minimum the items in the safety checklist below and requires the commercial fisherman to adhere to additional regulations while bar restrictions are in place (33 CFR 165.1196 and 165.1325).
• Check current bar conditions, weather forecasts and tide tables
• Check the helm restrictions and notify the Coast Guard if you intend to cross the helm if the vessel length is less than the restriction length.
DO NOT CROSS if a Harbor Master Closure (COTP) is in effect
• If crossing a restricted bar after sunset and before sunrise, the commercial fisherman MUST notify the Coast Guard.
• Notifications should include:
◦ Name of the vessel
◦ Location of the vessel
◦ Number of people on board
◦ Destination (incoming, outgoing, etc.)
◦ Limitations of the vessel (steering, propulsion, etc.)
• Discuss escort options with the Coast Guard if necessary
• Perform a thorough inspection of the spaces and ensure that all doors and hatches are secure.
• Secure all loose material on the deck
• After passing the bar:
◦ Account for all staff on board the ship
◦ Report the crossing safely to the coast guard
Commercial fishermen are required to wear personal flotation devices or immersion suits if they are on deck when crossing the bar during active bar restrictions. The use of a personal float is recommended at all times on deck. If seafarers operate in confined spaces on board a vessel, personal flotation devices must be readily available.
“Coast Guard rescue personnel continue to spend long hours working in hazardous conditions to ensure the safety of the commercial fishing fleet,” said Lt. Carl Eschler, Chief of Investigations, Safety Unit Portland Maritime. “While commercial fishing vessels are not prohibited from crossing a restricted bar, it should be noted that Coast Guard personnel stationed along the coast used their professional maritime experience and knowledge of local environmental conditions. to impose restrictions on the helm by determining that unsafe conditions exist. . “