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Fish like there is a tomorrow - fish safe.

A web site for the Commercial Fishing Vessel Industry

Commercial fishing vessels that operate on the ocean, Great Lakes, or the Puget Sound beyond 3 miles from shore must get a mandatory exam.

Generate a checklist for your particular fishing vessel using our checklist generator.

Quick links

Link to the new Coast Guard Headquarters Fishing Vessel Safety Website
Marine Safety Alert Oct. 6, 2017 - Vessel Stability - Remain upright by fully understanding vessel stability.
Voluntary Inititives and Good Marine Practices
Marine Safety Alert Aug. 17, 2016 - Coast Guard releases reminder to trawlers and other vessel that work the ocean floor about discarded munitions.
Marine Safety Alert Aug. 9, 2016 - Reminder about hazardous atmospheres in holds
Marine Safety Information Bulletin July 20, 2016 - Suspends development of Alternate Safety Complaince Program (ASCPs) for voluntary safety guidelines.
NOAA equipment in the Puget Sound and Straight of Juan de Fuca could cause gear entanglement.
Latest info on Engineers License Requirements
Asst Engineers extended deadline... again
New construction requirements
An end to 2182 kHz monitoring by the USCG
Surviving falls overboard
Fatigue is deadly - How to manage it.
Updated rules for pumping fuel as cargo (Processors)
Oil Spill Response Plans requirements vsls > 400GT

It's just another day mooring your vessel, until you fall overboard without a life jacket and no plan on how to get back aboard your boat.

Feb 25th 2019 Charleston Harbor, OR. The US Coast Guard received a call that someone from a commercial fishing vessel had fallen overboard while mooring the vessel to the dock. A Coast Guard station Coos Bay rescue boat was called to respond. The person that was safely recovered was the only person working the boat. Marine Safety Unit Portland Oregon has released a Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB) to remind mariners about the dangers of performing routine tasks that can have devastating consequences... See MSIB.


The US Coast Guard releases the Marine Board of Investigation report on the FV DESTINATION and an Impacts of Concern document to the commercial fishing industry.

The commercial fishing vessel DESTINATION sank and was lost with all six crewmembers missing and presumed deceased approximatley 4.4 NM northwwest of St. George Island, Alaska on February 11, 2017... See the full report.

Also read the Findings of Concern from the US Coast Guard Office of Investigations and Analysis titled "Impacts of Modifications, Alterations and Weight Creep on Stability"...See the document here.


The FCC has released an Enforcement Advisory to users and sellers of Automatic Identification System (AIS) for fishing gear.

Anyone advertising or selling noncompliant AIS for fishing net buoys or other noncompliant AIS devices should stop immediately, and anyone owning such devices should not use them. Sellers, advertisers, and operators of noncompliant AIS equipment may be subject to substantial monetary penalties. ... See FCC Enforcement Advisory


The Coast Guard authorization act of 2018 signed.

The act has several issues that are of interest to our commercial fishing vessel partners as follows: You can access the document at ...

Under TITLE - V - Maritime Transportation Safety

  • Section 502 ENGINE CUT-OFF SWITCH REQUIREMENTS [for RECREATIONAL VESSELS]: New requirements for installation on rec boats less than 26ft and capable of developing 115 pounds of thrust. There is a recommendation to initiate boating safety program on the use and benefit of the switches.
  • SEC. 504. EXCEPTION FROM SURVIVAL CRAFT REQUIREMENTS [for COMMERCIAL FISHING VESSELS]: Permits the use of the "auxiliary craft" as a substitute for a survival craft.
  • SEC. 505. SAFETY STANDARDS [for COMMERCIAL FISHING VESSELS]: Extends dockside exams to up to 5 years "but may require an exam at dockside very 2 years for certain vessels...if requested by the owner / operator."
  • SEC. 506. SAFETY GRANTS ]: Several changes to dates.
  • SEC. 507. FISHING, FISH TENDER, AND FISH PROCESSING VESSEL CERTIFICATION [for COMMERCIAL FISHING VESSELS]: Significant change to the application of rules to this class of vessels.
  • SEC. 508. DEADLINE FOR COMPLIANCE WITH ALTERNATE SAFETY COMPLIANCE PROGRAM [for COMMERCIAL FISHING VESSELS]: No later than Jan 1st, 2020, the Secretary of DHS must issue a report on the implementation of ASCP. The clause "developed incooperation with the commercial fishing industry" has been removed also.
  • SEC. 511. CLARIFICATION OF LOGBOOK ENTRIES. Permits electronic version of the official logbook
  • SEC. 512. CERTIFICATES OF DOCUMENTATION FOR RECREATIONAL VESSELS. New rule to allow recreational vessels to extend documentation expirations to up to 5-years. There will be a 3-year phase in period starting on Jan 1, 2019.
  • SEC. 515. SCIENTIFIC PERSONNEL. Removes age as a determining consideration for Scientific Personnel. The Auth Act language is actually referring to Section 2101 (31) of title 46.
  • SEC. 830. COMMERCIAL FISHING VESSEL SAFETY NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS PLAN: The CCG must develop a plan to better communicate and disseminateinformation.
  • SEC. 835 and SEC 836 VESSEL WAIVER [for COMMERCIAL FISHING VESSELS]: DHS can issue a COD with the Coastwise and Fisheries endorsement for AMERICA'S FINEST, with extensive caveats.


Congress provides funding to the US Coast Guard for establishing a $3 million grant program for Fishing Safety Training and another $3 million grant program for Fishing Safety Research.

The Coast Guard has set up two grant programs, one for training programs and the other for safety research. The training grants will be awarded on a competitive basis and could cover up to 75 percent of the cost of any training or research activity.

The training grants are intended to provide funding to municipalities, port authorities, other appropriate public entities, not-for-profit organizations, and other qualified persons to conduct commercial fishing vessel safety training for vessel operators and crewmembers. The program also was authorized for the purchase of safety equipment and training aids for use in those commercial fishing vessel safety training programs.

The research grant funding are to be used to conduct research on methods for improving the safety of the commercial fishing industry, including vessel design, emergency and survival equipment, enhancement of vessel monitoring systems, communication devices, deicing technology, and severe weather detection.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) will assist the Coast Guard by administering the grant programs. See the

You can view the guidance document here.


Oily bilge water management - The practice of decanting / skimming is prohibited.

Decanting or skimming is the practice of pumping bilge water from below any perceived oil or sheen on the bilge water's surface. This bulletin describes the law of both the Clean Water Act and the Act to Prevent Pollution from ships (APPS). MSIB 03-18.


Falling overboard is the 2nd leading cause of death among commercial fishermen.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released a video telling the story of Stan, an Oregon Dungeness crab fishermen, who fell overboard and survived, crediting his survival to the life jacket he was wearing.

KIDDE FIRE EXTINGUISHER WITH PLASTIC HANDLE, RECALL - Enforcement, examination, and inspection procedures..

The US Coast Guard distributed internal guidance for enforcement, examination, and inspection procedures for the Kidde fire extinguisher recall. Read guidance...

Marine Safety Alert - Be aware of 3rd party service providers offering to provide vessel documentation services.

The U.S. Coast Guard's National Vessel Documentation Center (NVDC) is aware that there are commercial entities that offer to manage the certification/renewal process on behalf of vessel owners for a fee. The Coast Guard does not endorse any of these companies, and the companies do not operate on behalf of the Coast Guard in any way.

The Coast Guard has released this Marine Safety Alert.

Fatigue - it'll bite you.

The Washington State, Department of Ecology has just released their website on the dangers of fatigue and commercial fishing vessel operations.

Listen to a real story of how fatigue cost a commercial fishermen his boat and nearly his life, and get tips for reducing fatigue and helping prevent oil spills.

Fire Extinguisher recall.

This marine safety alert provides information related to Kidde brand fire extinguishers. Nearly 40 Million extinguishers involving 134 different models have been recalled. These fire extinguishers were manufactured between January 1, 1973 and August 15, 2017, including models that were previously recalled in March 2009 and February 2015. The extinguishers were sold in red, white, and silver cylinder colors and are rated as either ABC or B.

If your vessel is required to carry charts you have the option to use electronic charts in lieu of paper charts.

But you must have an approved chart display system

On July 10, 2017 the Coast Guard Navigation Center released new guidance on the carriage of Electronic Charts in lieu of paper charts by releasing change 1 to the Navigation Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC 01-16). Read more...

Coast Guard Releases Marine Safety Information Bulletin on GMDSS Requirements for Commercial Fishing Vessels Operating in Alaska.

On January 20, 2015 the Coast Guard declared Sea Area A1 for the United States excluding Alaska. The Coast Guard also announced that it would not declare Sea Area A1 for Alaska. Since then there has been some confusion whether the commercial fishing vessel exemption still existed for vessels operating in Alaska. Read more...

Fishing Vessels chartered by the NMFS as an oceanographic research vessel.

There has been a lot of concern that the Coast Guard is changing the rules for fishing vessels chartered to do research work. The official word from our headquarter office is that there is no change. Read more...

June 21, 2016 - Coast Guard announces the publishing of a Notice of Proposed Rule Making for Commercial Fishing Vessels.

The Coast Guard proposes to align its commercial fishing industry vessel regulations with the mandatory provisions of 2010 and 2012 legislation passed by Congress that took effect upon enactment. The alignments would change the applicability of current regulations, and add new requirements for safety equipment, vessel examinations, vessel safety standards, the documentation of maintenance, and the termination of unsafe operations. Click here

2016 new requirement for VHF Radios with Direct Selective Calling (DSC)

By January 20th 2016, all commercial fishing vessels 300GT and greater must replace existing VHF radios with VHF radios with (DSC) capability. View Public Notice.

Vessel operating only in Alaska waters are exempt from this requirement (see the Public Notice to learn more about this requirement)

The DSC radio must be programmed with the Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number and vessel information. When connected to a GPS these new radios can send the vessels location automatically. Vessels that are not required to have a GPS are not mandated to have one in order to make that feature on the radio functional. Many vessels do have a GPS or plotting system and it is recommended that the proper connection to the DSC be made if possible.

March 1, 2016 new requirement Automatic Identification System (AIS)

Self propelled commercial fishing vessels, fish tender vessel and fish processing vessels that are 65 feet or greater are required to have installed either a Class A or Class B (AIS) in accordance with (33 CFR 164.46(b)(1)(i)). If you have questions please refer to the USCG Navigation Center website.

April 30th 2016 new requirement to submit a Notice of Arrival

By April 30th 2016 vessels greater than 300 gross tons and all vessels coming from a foreign port must submit a Notice of Arrival (NOA) to the National Vessel Movement Center (NVMC). See more...

When is my vessel a commercial fishing vessel?

Whether your vessel is US documented or state registered, if you catch fish with the intent to sell your catch, you are operating a commecial fishing vessel. Commercial fishing vessels are required to comply with the commercial fishing vessel safety regulations. These requirments are different from those for a recreational vessel.

Click here to visit the Dockside Examinations page and use the "Checklist Generator" to obtain a checklist for your particular vessel and operations.