Gold dredgers should not expect any new regulations from the Coast Guard this season.
Lt. Victoria Swinghamer is with the Enforcement Division at Sector Anchorage and says the Coast Guard will continue its “two-pronged” approach of education and enforcement this summer.
The education part consists of dockside inspections. These are voluntary and free and should begin in Nome in June. The Coast Guard inspections ensure vessels are in compliance with federal regulations
Swinghamer explains, “They’re no penalty inspections. So anything that is discrepant or anything they don’t have, the inspectors will tell them what they need to have, why they need to have it, and make sure that they can get those things before they get underway.”
The enforcement part consists of at-sea boardings.
“That’s when we will ensure that they are operating with the required safety equipment, and any discrepancies will then need to be fixed on the spot,” said Swinghamer.
Required safety equipment includes accessible life jackets, fire extinguishers, and signaling devices.
Swinghamer says most dredging vessels are classified as recreational units. However, vessels over 26 feet might be subject to alternative regulations. To view a list of federal vessel standards, click here.