Changes in Life Raft Requirements for Commercial Fishing Vessels

The Northeast Fisheries Observer Program will be discontinuing the usage of supplemental valise life rafts by observers and at-sea monitors on June 30, 2023. According to 46 U.S.C. ยง 4502(b)(2)(B) it is the vessel’s responsibility to have a properly installed life craft, when applicable, with capacity to hold all persons on board, including the observer.

Vessels selected for observer or at-sea monitor coverage must meet all U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) safety regulations and must also display a current USCG Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Examination decal. These requirements are outlined in the USCG Federal Requirements for Commercial Fishing Industry Vessels. All safety equipment, servicing, and registrations must be present and current (i.e. not expired). A checklist of the required safety gear can be created using the USCG Commercial Fishing Vessel Checklist Generator.

Contact Sarah Sullivan, Safety Operations Specialist, Fisheries Monitoring Operations Branch at 508-524-3039