By Jennifer Henion
Triplicate staff writer
Fishing for Dungeness crab is the third most dangerous job in the nation.
Crescent City's Coast Guard Auxiliary and safety experts from USCG Group Humboldt Bay were out yesterday trying to make the job a little safer.
Crab season begins Dec. 1.
Auxiliary members Rosemary Halldorsson and Bev Noll were at Crescent City Harbor, walking the docks and making safety inspections of commercial fishing boats. Along with them was Rick Loster, the USCG Surface Operations Officer from Group Humboldt Bay, who has been helping train the auxiliary members involved in inspecting the Crescent City fleet.
The inspectors were making sure each vessel has enough survival suits, has a working radio and an emergency electronic transmitter that can signal search-and-rescue personnel, among other things.
Before Loster came to town to offer training, the local auxiliary had no one qualified to conduct the inspections for the Coast Guard.
Halldorsson said more local vessels will likely ask for the inspection now that there is a local crew to do it.
"It helps the skippers relax because they know a fresh set of eyes has been through the boat and made sure everything was in place," said .
Laws have been in place since 1988 that require commercial vessels to carry a certain list of safety devices in case of emergency.
Boats can be randomly boarded by the Coast Guard for compliance inspections out at sea. If out of compliance, the boat owner is sanctioned and the boat may be forced out of the water.
But if boats pass a voluntary safety inspection in port, the boat is issued a decal indicating it has already passed the test.
"The really good thing about this training is that we will be right here. A lot of the reason why boats don't get this done is because they have to call Humboldt and their schedule isn't as flexible as ours," Noll said.