As many of you have learned, a charter boat in Sitka tragically sank and five lives were lost on Sunday, May 30. The Angling Unlimited family extends our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends who lost loved ones. Hundreds of thousands of trips have been taken over more than half a century and this is the only time that the charter industry suffered this kind of loss.
An incident like this raises concern among the people who book trips, including AU’s valued guests. AU considers your safety our top priority and we take our responsibility very seriously. We’re committed to your safety.
- AU operates in full compliance with United States Coast Guard requirements for charter boats. That includes Type I life jackets which keep even an unconscious person’s face upward and out of the water.
- By law, all our captains completed 360 days at sea and an extensive U.S. Coast Guard exam before being licensed.
- Our licensed captains, many of whom have more than a decade at the helm, understand and respect the power of the ocean.
- We avoid high-risk locations and operations.
- Our boats are meticulously maintained and our design has proven exceptionally seaworthy.
- In addition to the captain, we have a deckhand who is familiar with safety procedures on every AU boat.
- We regularly inspect all our safety equipment and procedures.
- We stay in constant communication with each other and radio communication with the U.S. Coast Guard is instantly available.
- Sitka has a Coast Guard air station for rapid response.
We may never know exactly what caused this tragic sinking and loss of life. Boats don’t have a black box like commercial aircraft. We do know that the charter company that lost the boat has a long history of safe and responsible practices. This is not the time for conjecture or speculation. It is a time to express our thoughts and prayers for those who were lost.
The vest I’m wearing is available to anyone who would feel more secure with it on. It’s reasonably comfortable and doesn’t restrict movement. It’s a type 1 vest as required by the USCG.