13th Coast Guard District
915 Second Ave
Seattle, WA 98176
Fish like there is a tomorrow - fish safe.
A web site for Commercial Fishing Vessel Owners and Operators
Mandatory Dockside Safety Exams for most commercial fishing vessels.
Mandatory Dockside Safety Exams must be completed for all commercial fishing vessels that operate beyond 3 nautical miles from the territorial sea baseline. View Coast Guard Marine Safety Information Bulletin.
You will be issued a decal with an expiration date 2 years from the date issued. Your next mandatory exam must be completed within 5 years from the issue date of your most recent decal. That means your decal expires before you are required to get your next mandatory exam. Any vessel that completed a mandatory exam beginning on January 1, 2013 or any time after are in compliance.
Vessels without having completed a mandatory exam since January 1, 2013 if boarded can expect to get warning and must contact a fishing vessel examiner within 30 days to schedule the mandatory exam. Subsequent boardings after 30 days will result in the operator being issued a violation.
Vessels with a valid decal can expect to see abbreviated boarding times if issued in the last two years. Those vessels with decals that have expired can expect boarding officers to conduct a more extensive examination of the vessels required safety equipment. Fishing vessel that are required to carry national marine fisheries services observers are required to have a valid decal (not expired).
Preparing for your vessel exam
1. Use any desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone device - to determine the equipment your vessel is required to have. Launch the Checklist Generator (Click here) answer the quesitons and create a list of the safety equipment your vessel is required to have. Print out a checklist. to use on your vessel or take the list on your device to your vessel.
2. Use the checklists to examine your vessel. Ensure you have all of the required equipment and that everything is in serviceable condition.
You can view additional information on what to look at for each item by selecting the "info" button to the right of each item on the checklist. It is here that you can also view any additional information such as regulations related to the item as well as other information and guidance.
3. Call to schedule a dockside exam. Call your nearest Coast Guard Dockside Examiner to schedule a visit to your vessel to conduct the exam. If your vessel has all of the required servicable equipment you will be issued a decal and written documentation that your vessel has passed the exam. The exam decal is issued for two years.
4. Keep equipment in serviceable condition. Items such as inflatable life rafts, EPIRBS, certain first aid kit items, etc expire. Make sure that you exam all items to ensure they stay in serviceable condition and not expired.