As we've mentioned before on this blog, commercial fishing is the most dangerous job in the United States, with a fatality rate of 121.2 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers in 2012, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) statistics. Each day, these marine professionals face a number of challenges, including long work days, strenuous labor and harsh weather.
With this information in mind, it's important for commercial fishermen to do whatever they can to ensure the safety of everyone onboard. Recently, the U.S. Coast Guard announced that it would offer free safety exams to fishing boats in advance of the halibut and sablefish fisheries opening in Alaska on March 23.
Although taking advantage of this offer isn't mandatory for all vessels, states Alaskan radio station Raven Radio, it is strongly recommended that watercraft owners do so to make sure their boats meet current fishing regulations. Additionally, if vessels that go out on the water are found to be violating safety rules that are in place, fishermen could be find or even escorted back to the dock by the Coast Guard.
"It's a good program," Steve Ramp, who will be examining watercraft in the town of Sitka, told the source. "It doesn't cost fishermen anything. There are no ramifications if they're short on equipment. We give them 30 days to get their equipment and then we give them their decal after we verify that. There's no fines involved, no costs involved, and it's a good way to make sure these fishermen get home to their families after a trip."
No matter the location, commercial fishing is undoubtedly a dangerous occupation. With that in mind, many boat owners and organizations turn to marine insurance providers that can help them find the best rates and ensure that they are covered in the case of an accident.