Southeast Charter Boat Fishing Community Reacts To Tragic Accident

As news reports identified the victims of last week’s tragic Southeast Alaska charter boat sinking – the captain of the boat and four family members on a vacation are either confirmed or presumed dead – members of the fishing guide community around Sitka and Southeast Alaska are reacting to the accident. Here’s more from the Associated Press:

“I can’t remember when we had any kind of fatality in our industry, so this is shocking for us,” said Richard Yamada, who sits on various industry boards, including the Alaska Charter Association and the Southeast Alaska Guides Organization. “We’re really curious to see what happened.” …

Yamada owns a lodge in Juneau, Alaska. Some businesses, like his, own all their fishing vessels, while others, like Kingfisher, contract with independent boat owners.

It takes serious effort to get a captain’s license, Yamada said, and the process involves an exam covering navigation and safety as well as 360 days of experience on the water. Because you can’t be on the water year-round in Alaska, it usually takes three summers, he said.

“It’s not as if you just come off the street and get a license,” Yamada said. “It takes some time.”

It remains to be seen if there will be any further fallout from the tragedy.