New Requirements – Starting on February 26, 2016, all Commercial Fishing Vessels operating more than 3 NM from the Baseline, regardless of size or number of persons onboard are required to carry a Survival Craft that ensures that no part of an individual is immersed in water. Starting on November 1, 2016, all Commercial Fishing Vessels operating within 3 NM that are 36’ or greater or operating with 4 or more people on board are also required to carry a Survival Craft that ensures that no part of an individual is immersed in water.
The minimum acceptable Survival Craft for these vessels will be a USCG approved Inflatable Buoyant Apparatus. This new requirement will also apply to vessels that are currently not required to carry a Survival Craft (i.e. vessels under 36’ in length that carry less than 4 persons onboard) that operate between 3 and 12 NM from the Baseline and all vessels currently required to carry survival craft. The USCG approved Survival Craft(s) that comply with the new regulations taking effect on February 26, 2016 and November 1, 2016 include: an Inflatable Buoyant Apparatus or a Liferaft containing a SOLAS A pack, a SOLAS B pack or a Coastal pack, as approved under 46 CFR Subchapter Q.
Skiff Exemption Program – The Coast Guard Seventeenth District (Alaska) currently issues Survival Craft Exemption letters that allow Commercial Fishing Vessels to meet their Buoyant Apparatus/Life Float requirement with a suitable “skiff”. These letters will become invalid for vessels operating more than 3 NM from the Baseline on February 26, 2016.
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