By Kent Gray
Triplicate staff writer
Fishermen would be well advised to fix any oil leaks and get their lifevests in order this week, now that the U.S. Coast Guard has announced random safety inspections of Crescent City's vessels.
"With the arrival of the good weather and the opening of the recreational salmon season off Crescent City, the area is seeing a substantial increase in boat traffic," said Lt. j.g. Lee Titus. "In response to this traffic, we are increasing our local patrol efforts of the Coast Guard Cutter Dorado and her attached rigid-hull inflatable Zodiac boat."
Titus said the Coast Guard's goal is to ensure the boats are meeting safety regulations.
"We're not out there to push people around. The objective here is safety and to make sure things go better on the water. That way, we won't end up having to conduct a rescue later," Titus said.
Ensuring the safety of the vessels on the water is the primary focus of the Coast Guard's duties, Titus said, although it also will enforce fishery regulations for the state and federal government.
Fishermen should be prepared for the Coast Guard to ask for permission to board a vessel on the water.
"We may come aboard to facilitate a more thorough inspection of the required safety gear and documentation of the vessel," Titus said. "... our hope is that these at-sea safety inspections will greatly reduce the chance of actual distress on the water."
Titus said boaters who are unsure of the safety requirements can stop by the Crescent City office to pick up safety information or to speak directly to one of the safety officers.
"We thank the community in advance for their cooperation on the water and we wish everyone a safe boating season," he said.