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Coast Guard Helps Crab Fishermen Prepare For The Season

Mike Rudolph (yellow gloves), a fishing vessel safety examiner from the Coast Guard's Marine Safety Unit Portland, teaches students how to move around more efficiently in their survival suits during an 18-hour drill conductor's course in Newport, Oregon Mar. 24, 2017. Rudolph, along with three other instructors, teach local commercial fishermen how to conduct various emergency drills for the crews aboard their own vessels. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Zac Crawford.

Coast Guard personnel have worked with many members of the Pacific Northwest fishing fleet during the last four months preparing them to be safe and knowledgeable during the commercial Dungeness crab season beginning Sunday.

Coast Guard personnel have conducted more than 90 fishing vessel exams and trained more than 75 fishermen during drill conductor courses held at various ports including Coos Bay, Newport, Garibaldi and Astoria since September.

The fishing vessel exams ensure that the vessels are carrying the mandatory safety equipment including life rafts, immersion suits, flares, lifejackets and other emergency equipment.

Commercial fishermen are required to practice emergency situations at least once per month and the drill conductor course trains fishermen how to run those practice sessions. The training gives commercial fishermen the opportunity to receive valuable hands-on safety equipment and emergency drill training.

Participants practiced with emergency equipment required aboard most commercial fishing vessels—personal flotation devices, life rafts, immersion suits, distress signals, EPIRBs and fire extinguishers. They learned and practiced emergency procedures like man overboard retrieval, abandoning ship, firefighting and flooding control through on board emergency drills and practical demonstrations.

"The Dungeness crab fishery is one of the most dangerous occupations in the country," said Curt Farrell, fishing vessel safety coordinator, Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Portland. "There is no way to make it 100 percent safe, but our goal is to ensure that everyone that participates in the fishery has everything they need including the gear and knowledge to come home to loved ones. Nearly every survivor of an emergency situation involving a fishing vessel in the Pacific Northwest has participated in one or more of the drill conductor courses."

Information and photos by USCG

Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nate Littlejohn U.S. Coast Guard District 13 PADET Astoria Subscribe 8 Mike Rudolph (right), course instructor and fishing vessel safety examiner for Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Portland, Ore., coaches students in Astoria, Ore., Sept. 13, during a Commercial Fishermen Drill Conductor Course held in Astoria and Warrenton, Sept. 12-13, 2013. Students put on survival suits, entered the water and practiced working in formation to increase chances of survival during maritime emergencies. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nate Littlejohn)

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