The Coast Guard Authorization act of 2010 and the Marine Transportation Safety Act of 2012 requires all vessels operating beyond 3 nautical miles from the coast to have a Coast Guard approved survival craft that ensures that no part of an individual is immersed in water, e.g. lifeboat, rigid life raft, inflatable life raft, inflatable buoyant apparatus, or small boat. The date of compliance/enforcement was to be no later than 16 October 2015.
The new compliance date, for the "SURVIVAL CRAFT" requirement ONLY, is 26 February 2016.
Vessels that require a survival craft may continue to use that type of survival craft (i.e. life floats, buoyant apparatus, inflatable buoyant apparatus, or life raft), as long as it is serviceable. Until further notice, you may continue to replace an unserviceable survival craft with a same serviceable type under the current definition.
Also, if your vessel is not required a survival craft now, you will not be required to have a survival craft until 26 February 2016 or until further notice.
All other requirements listed in The Coast Guard Authorization act of 2010 and the Marine Transportation Safety Act of 2012 remain the same, the compliance date for the remaining requirements is 16 October 2015.
Please pass this information along to all your association members, fellow commercial fishermen, and post on your association website.
If you have any questions please give me a call.
U.S. Coast Guard
Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Examiner Santa Barbara, CA.
Tel: (805) 962-7430 ext. 270
Fax: (805) 962-7968