Fishing Vessel Dockside Exams
At your request, dockside examiners from the Marine Safety Office or any of the Coast Guard
stations along the coast will examine your vessel and evaluate compliance with the Commercial
Fishing Industry Vessel Safety Act requirements. They will also provide any other guidance
they can with how to operate your vessel more safely or provide you with local resources for
training and education in the safety field. If you meet the requirements of the CFIVSA as
determined by a dockside examiner, you will be issued a decal that is valid for two years
from the date of the exam.
The following are some basic questions & answers about dockside boardings.
Q: What is a dockside exam?
A: Dockside exams are a voluntary, FREE way to find out if you are in compliance with
applicable CFIVSA regulations. They are also one way to ensure that at-sea boarding time
is minimized, because Coast Guard boarding teams will not need to be as meticulous in
scrutinizing your safety gear if you have a current decal posted.
Q: Will I be assessed a fine if I get a dockside exam and several items are missing?
A: No. Dockside are voluntary in nature and no fine or enforcement action may be assessed
for dockside examinations. If you have several discrepancies, your examiner will give you a
worklist of items to be corrected before a follow-up exam is conducted. Once you have the
list completed, schedule another exam. The examiner will come out, ensure you are in
compliance, and then issue you a CFIVSA decal. Not only do vessels conducting at-sea
boardings often inquire about or look for these decals, they usually retain a current
listing of vessels with current decals in order to help prioritize vessel boardings.
A CFIVSA does not guarantee that you will not be boarded, but it may reduce the likelihood
that you are boarded and expedite the duration of the boarding.
Remember, at-sea boardings will also check for compliance with the CFIVSA requirements.
However, these boardings can lead to civil penalties. Don't wait until you are at sea to
decide if your vessel is in compliance. Get a dockside exam before you find yourself in an
emergency without the tools you need to save your life!
Request a Dockside Exam