Florida charters will help boats steer clear of Air Force testing
Local charter boats will help the Air Force with munitions testing for the next few weeks.
The Air Force’s 96th Operations Group will run bombing tests through Sept. 13 in the Gulf of Mexico about 20 nautical miles south of Destin, Fla., as part of the 53rd Wing’s Maritime Strike Program, according to The Destin Log.
The Air Force commissioned 25 local boats to protect the mission area. The boats and their crews will mark the border and warn approaching vessels to stay out of the drop zone.
An independent contractor pays the charter captains to help with the tests. Westbrook said his boats still will be used for fishing on the weekends during the test weeks.
He said he doesn’t make as much money as he would chartering fishing trips this time of year, but that helping the military can be a welcome paycheck during the offseason.
Coast Guard seeks to change PFD type codes
The Coast Guard recently issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to remove references to type codes in regulations on the carriage and labeling of the personal flotation devices it approves.
PFD type codes are unique to Coast Guard approval and are not well understood by the general public, the agency said. The current PFD type code classification system would be redesigned to focus on performance criteria rather than construction standards.
A new, easy-to-understand label concept is intended to help professional mariners and recreational boaters select the best device for their intended use and route.
Removal of the current PFD type codes from carriage and labeling requirements would assist future incorporation by reference of new industry consensus standards for PFD labeling that will more effectively convey safety information without the use of type codes and is a step toward harmonizing Coast Guard regulations with PFD requirements in Canada and other countries.
“Life jackets that are currently Coast Guard-approved and serviceable are still perfectly safe to use and are not made obsolete by the proposed standards. This rule simply streamlines the use of PFD type codes to pave the way for future alignment with one international standard,” Brandi Baldwin, P.E., Lifesaving and Fire Safety Division, Office of Design and Engineering Standards at Coast Guard headquarters, said in a statement.