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Press Release | Dec. 12, 2023

Coast Guard reminds commercial fishermen of safety while at sea

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Coast Guard is reminding commercial fishermen to ensure they have the correct lifesaving equipment onboard their vessel before leaving the dock.   

“Operating in the maritime environment can be dangerous, particularly in colder weather,” said Capt. Jennifer Stockwell, commander, Coast Guard Sector Virginia. “Having the appropriate lifesaving equipment onboard will dramatically improve a mariner’s chance of survival if they find themselves in distress.”

Multiple Coast Guard crews conducted boardings of commercial fishing vessels transiting the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, December 1 through 7, in a planned operation focused on ensuring compliance with all applicable safety requirements within the commercial fishing fleet.

The Coast Guard teams boarded 14 vessels and terminated the voyage of four vessels due to unsafe conditions. The vessels were issued citations for lacking survival craft and critical lifesaving equipment.

To promote safety on the water, the Coast Guard offers courtesy examinations for commercial fishing vessels. During the voluntary examination, inspectors will explain the regulations and help the boat gain compliance if there are any issues. The exams are free and conducted dockside at the owner’s convenience and will not result in any violations.

The Coast Guard is committed to ensuring the safety of all mariners, enforcing all applicable federal regulations and will continue to conduct boardings of commercial fishing vessels to do so. The goal is to ensure compliance with regulatory standards, created to protect the boating public. To schedule a courtesy examination, please contact the Coast Guard at: 757-439-8444.