Before approaching a bar restriction, commercial fishermen must alert U.S. Coast Guard watch standers of their arrival or face a stiff penalty.
Fishermen will need to reach the Coast Guard via VHF-FM channel 16 or 22A and give them the name of their vessel, their location, where they are going, how many people are on board and any vessel limitations. They also must notify the agency of whether or not they safely transited after they cross. Life jackets or immersion suits must be worn while crossing a restricted bar.
Lt. Carl Eschler, investigations division of Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Portland, stressed the importance of alerting the agency, adding that five commercial fishing vessels have capsized while crossing a restricted bar along the Oregon Coast since 2016, resulting in ten mariner deaths.
“Had the Coast Guard been aware that these vessels were crossing the bar when these hazardous conditions were present, Coast Guard assets could have been on scene and ready to assist as needed to ensure a safe crossing of the bar,” Eschler said in a statement. “Contacting the Coast Guard prior to crossing a restricted bar between sunset and sunrise is more than just a good idea for commercial fishermen, it is a requirement.”
Those who don’t comply could face a maximum civil penalty of $25,000, according to the agency.
Visit https://www.weather.gov/pqr/AllBars for more on restricted bars.