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October Brings New Safety Regulations for Commercial Fishing Boats

Many local commercial fishing boats are based at St. Pete marinas. Beginning Oct. 16, boats operating more than three nautical miles offshore must undergo a mandatory safety examination, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard urges commercial fishing vessel operators to take advantage of voluntary safety examinations prior to the enforcement of the new requirement Oct. 16.

All commercial fishing, fish tender and fish processing vessels that operate or transit more than three nautical miles offshore must demonstrate full compliance with fishing industry vessel safety regulations during a dockside safety examination.

To demonstrate compliance with this new requirement, fishermen are encouraged to contact Coast Guard fishing vessel safety examiners to obtain a Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Decal.

The examination requirement is one of several new mandates established by the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010. The act requires a mandatory safety examination for fishing vessels that operate beyond three nautical miles of the baseline regardless of whether the vessel is state-registered or federally documented. More information about this change and methods for achieving compliance can be viewed at fishsafe.info.

For additional information or to schedule a vessel examination, please contact the Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg commercial fishing vessel safety office at 813-228-2196, ext. 8136.

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