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AMSEA marine safety course can help fishermen — and everyone else — stay safe on the water


The course is meant to educate fishermen on marine safety. It focuses on the technical aspects of operating safety gear and teaches people what to do in an emergency. 


Each year, the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association offers courses on safety while out on the water. 


The course goes over the survival equipment that fishermen are required to have on their vessels, based on the Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Act passed by congress in 1988. 


That equipment includes immersion suits, survival rafts, signal flares, Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons, and personal flotation devices. Some of the survival equipment is only required on vessels that fish more than three miles offshore. 


The class focuses on the technical aspects of operating safety gear, but instructor Ron Bowers hopes the biggest takeaway is knowing what to do in an emergency. 


“You know what the best survival tool is — it’s what God gave you between your ears — your brain," he said. "Having an attitude that you’re going to live, you’re going to survive this situation, you’re going to figure out what to do, and you’re going to come back alive and you’re going to bring your crew with you."


Though the course was designed for commercial fishermen, Bowers said it is useful for anyone who spends time on the water.


“As you’re learning what to do when things go wrong, and you’re practicing with the equipment that’s on your skiff or your boat that’s going to help you survive," he said. "So really anybody that travels anywhere in Alaska, including somebody who’s flying could benefit from this course. It’s designed for commercial fisher folks, but it’s open to anybody."


For more information and training videos on how to keep yourself and your crew safe this season, visit amsea.org/resources 


Contact the author at mackenzie@kdlg.org or 907-842-2200.