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Coast Guard stresses safety in wake of 3 Alaska dive fisheries incidents

News Release
sardfa.org
Date: Oct. 09, 2013
U.S. Coast Guard 17th District Public Affairs

JUNEAU, Alaska — The Coast Guard reminds mariners in Southeast Alaska to take all necessary safety precautions after three safety incidents related to dive fisheries occurred in three days near Ketchikan Sunday through Tuesday.

Boat operators and divers should be aware of all rules and regulations regarding the safe operation of vessels and diving equipment, as well as any laws that apply to their fishery.

The first safety incident, which occurred on Sunday, involved a dive fishery vessel underway in the vicinity of the Tongass Narrows with no immersion suits or flares on board. The Coast Guard directed the vessel’s operator to return to port until the operator could acquire proper safety equipment. More information on commercial fishing vessel safety equipment is available at: http://www.fishsafe.info/

On Monday, the Coast Guard conducted a safety boarding on a dive fishery vessel after the crew ran aground near Cat Island. The Coast Guard boarding team directed the vessel’s operator to return to port when they discovered multiple safety violations. Mariners should be well acquainted with the area they are operating in, including an understanding of charts and tide tables. More information on safe boating is available at: http://www.uscgboating.org/

On Tuesday, a person involved in the sea cucumber fishery died in a diving accident. The cause of the accident is under investigation by the Alaska State Troopers. The Coast Guard recommends consulting the Southeast Alaska Regional Dive Fisheries Association safety page before diving in the extreme Alaska environment: http://gdyn.sardfa.org/safety

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of the deceased,” said Cmdr. Marc Burd, the Coast Guard Sector Juneau chief of response. “We want mariners and divers to make safety the number one priority before heading out in the uncertain and sometimes unpredictable waters of Southeast Alaska. We recommend always filing a float plan and having all required safety gear on board, which will help mariners prepare for a worst case scenario.”