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New USCG Regulations for Commercial Fishing Vessels

Dockside Inspections

Some commercial fishing vessels will now have to undergo a mandatory Coast Guard dockside inspection, which was voluntary up until now. Commercial fishing vessels of any size – including catcher vessels, tenders and at-sea processors — that operate three nautical miles off the beach are required to have a dockside inspection prior to Oct. 15, 2015. Such inspections are also mandatory for those who participate in federal fisheries that carry onboard NOAA fisheries observers, mainly the black cod and halibut fisheries.

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Chart Changes

In 1862, five years before the U.S. took possession of Sitka and Alaska, the government started printing the beautiful, color lithographic charts on heavy bond beige paper that were ultimately sold by private vendors, like Murray Pacific and Old Harbor Books. That era has come to an end.

Last year, the Federal Aviation Administration, which distributes both aeronautical and nautical navigation charts, announced that after April, 2014, they will no longer distribute the printed nautical charts (aeronautical charts will still be produced.) FAA took over chart distribution from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 1999.

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New Items to Watch for 2013

Affordably-priced 2-way texting is now available outside of the cellular area. The DeLorme InReach device (and free app) transforms your smartphone or tablet into a two-way text message global communications device and a GPS viewer.

The InReach device also offers a number of safety and navigational features. It costs about $250.

newitem1InReach allows you to compose and send text messages of up to 160 characters. You can even post to Facebook, Twitter or your own shared map. An interactive SOS feature allows mariners to describe their situation in detail to rescuers and stay in touch.

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New Items to Watch for 2012

Do you consider a laptop computer an essential piece of fishing gear? If you answered “no” you may be a member of an endangered species. Mariners are finding laptop computers are increasingly valuable at sea as more and more useful hardware and software hits the market.

One nifty combination of hardware and software starts with the easy installation of a GlobalSat USB GPS Navigation Receiver ($59.95 retail). As its name implies, you just plug in the USB cable into your laptop. The software comes by accessing an Open Source, free website to access navigational charts –

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