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Coast Guard helps crabbers prepare for their season

Charleston - With the official start of crabbing season just four days away, the Coast Guard is helping crabbers prepare, providing free vessel checks to ensure a safe start to a sometimes dangerous season.

Coast Guard personnel from Coos Bay...North Bend...and Portland, were on hand Tuesday afternoon in Charleston, climbing aboard crabbing vessels as part of the Coast Guards "Operation Safe Crab" program.

"It's an outreach from the Coast Guard in preparation for crab season. We like to get on board these vessels and just make sure that the key safety items are ready to go, like life rafts, survival suits," says Lieutenant John Dixon.

Dixon adds that between Monday and Wednesday his team of eight will check around 25 vessels.

The program is voluntary for crabbers, but Dixon says, most usually participate for their own safety and the safety of their vessel.

"During crab season the weather is not always favorable. So if we can go out there and get them ready in case they need it, it's a great thing. It has really reduced the loss of life over the years."

Dixon and his team will wrap up their work on Wednesday, at which time crabbers will begin to head out in anticipation of the start of the season on December 1st.

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