CDC: Fishing crews must still wear masks


In spite of pleas from Sen. Lisa Murkowski and others, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Coast Guard still say that fishing personnel must wear masks aboard boats.

For many Alaska fishermen, having a mask over their nose and mouth during fishing operations is akin to being waterboarded, as wet, slimy masks are difficult to breathe through, create visual barriers, and prevent communication.

Earlier this month, Murkowski and Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) wrote to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and Coast Guard Admiral Karl Schultz, requesting they update their mask policies.

Meanwhile, the CDC has updated its mask policies for cruise ships. Passengers who are fully vaccinated may remove masks when outdoors, as long as they are not in crowds, according to the CDC’s updated operations manual for cruise lines.

“Cruise ship operators, at their discretion, may advise passengers and crew that — if they are fully vaccinated — they may gather or conduct activities outdoors, including engaging in extended meal service or beverage consumption, without wearing a mask except in crowded settings,” the CDC manual says.

But CDC still requires passengers and crew to wear masks on all planes, buses, trains, and other forms of transportation, and that includes fishing vessels.

“In response to the CDC guidance published on May 13, 2021, the commercial fishing community has expressed confusion about the implementation of the new guidance on fishing vessels that are operating with all fully vaccinated staff. In response, we sought clarification from the Coast Guard about whether fully vaccinated commercial fishing crew are still required to wear masks. On May 14, 2021, Coast Guard personnel confirmed that the agency would need to wait for changes to the CDC Mask Order and associated CDC guidance for conveyances and transportation hubs before it could revise its Marine Safety Information Bulletin and address requirements for fishing vessels,” Murkowski wrote in her letter to the CDC and Coast Guard.

Murkowski noted that masks create a safety hazard on fishing vessels, where crew communicate over loud motors or machinery noises, and they rely extensively on lip-reading to help them understand each other.

“Masks are also frequently wet from sea spray, which can make it more difficult to breathe. This is a condition that the CDC has generally recognized is problematic,” Murkowski wrote, urging changes to the federal policy.

National Fisherman provided its readers with a list of activities in which wearing a mask would create a safety hazard for onboard workers:

  • On-deck tasks which necessitate removing a mask to perform duties due to safety hazards from slime- or water-covered masks causing difficulty breathing.
  • When the crew needs to communicate with each other or the captain, as the captain is hearing impaired and needs to see the facial expressions and lips of the crew.
  • Shoveling fish into bins.
  • Hauling in net and anytime the net reel is in motion.
  • Manning the net reel while in operation.
  • Stacking boxes of fish.
  • Wash down of the deck.
  • Unloading fish boxes at the dock.
  • Jumping on or off the boat while docking or departing.
  • Tying lines to secure equipment or the boat itself.
  • Any activity where there is communication between the crew and captain as the captain has hearing loss and needs to see facial expressions and lip movement.

The most recent Coast Guard bulletin states: “Operators of vessels and sea ports that fail to implement [the mask wearing order] may be subject to civil or criminal penalties. Vessels that have not implemented the mask requirement may be issued a Captain of the Port order directing the vessel’s movement and operations; repeated failure to impose the mask mandate could result in civil and/or criminal enforcement action. Additionally, after taking into account operational considerations, the COTP may issue orders prohibiting vessels from mooring at a sea port that fails to implement the CDC guidelines or refer non-compliance with CDC’s guidelines for further civil or criminal enforcement action.”

It’s unclear if this federal mandate pertains to sport fishing charters.


  1. How about we sue the CDC and the Coast Guard for every accident on every fishing boat. Their insanity is going to get people killed for nothing. This is beyond ludicrous.

  2. Stupid. Someone is enjoying being in “control”. If they’re all vaxxed, WHY do they still have to wear masks?

  3. It’s doesn’t get any more insane than that folks. It is clear now. These fisherman represent masculine testosterone-sufficient badassery BUT they need to be taught that yes, even you macho fisherman, need to comply with insane laws. IF we can get you to put a mask on in the middle of nowhere, or better yet- snitch on those who don’t, then we can tell you there are more than two genders and we can tell you what to do forever. Resistance please.

  4. Just ignore the faux CDC scientists who have zero science to back up the dictates of the Fraud President.

  5. This is all complete and utter BS. “If you are vaccinated”? BS. The vaccine isn’t stopping, or even slowing, anything. Requiring a vaccine to go maskless or to travel is obviously, to anyone with the ability to recognize lies and social engineering, pure political games designed to cause the masses to believe that there is some horrible disease out there. Unfortunately, it is working on a good portion of the public. Any politician, whether democrat or republican, that keeps spewing this COVID nonsense is just going along to get along. That, or they are happy to engineer the masses with these lies.

  6. Might be helpful to find out what -exactly- authorizes CDC to “enforce” its fearmask mandate and to find out what authorizes Coast Guard to enforce CDC fearmask mandate…
    Alaska’s congressional delegation could sponsor resolutions against this bit of nastiness, they could sponsor legislation to the effect that neither Coast Guard or TSA will use federal funds to enforce this bit of nastiness on boats or on airplanes.
    The fishing community could organize a nationwide strike to force the issue, should get somebody’s attention.
    Hilarious in its twisted way. One would expect Coast Guard and CDC to have massive presence on the Rio Grande for obvious reasons.
    But no, they won’t exert their authority on expendable people who have nothing to lose, will they? Coast Guard and CDC don’t enforce “mandates” on people who could care less about them or their mandates.
    Hell, isn’t that why dope and people smuggling are so profitable down south?
    What if your damned boat sinks? Still gotta “mask up” while floating about the Bering?
    If Alaska’s congressional delegation aren’t too worried about offending their Democrat friends, they could sponsor resolutions and legislation to stop this stupidity once and for all, yes?
    At least productive Alaskans could get a better idea of what, and who, are arrayed against them.

  7. I’d be surprised there are actual fisherman captains who have been complying. For any captain acting like a mask drill sargent. Their only enployees working for him are more likely his wife and children. Hahaha.

  8. Tell me this : What laws do the CDC write. Guidelines are not mandatory , nor are they laws. I realize a license may be at stake here , but it will cost the government millions to take any actions against a fleet of fishermen. I SAY DO AS YOU SEE FIT AND SAFE. There is no Law that The CDC has written.

  9. It will be intrist ting to see where CDC derives its authority under the US Constitution. How a health agent employed in a foreign corporation gained authority over a free inhabitant is a mystery and hasn’t been adequately announced. I wonder if they are operating in an ultra vires manner outside of their scope of authority. WE the people of this land do not consent to hidden deals of foreign powers machinations to obtain our wealth, assets, resources, and control of our republic. Our republic has its authority by virtue of the free inhabitants informed consent. The CDC may be registered at significant part in the City of London, UK under the British Monarchy. The King of UK isn’t our form of government to my limited gnarledge.

  10. I’m not a lawyer, and I’m certainly no expert on maritime law. However, I do have one question: what authority does the CDC have to create laws that apply to crews on board privately owned vessels, including fishing vessels?

  11. These “guidelines” are absolutely stupid. The CDC should be told by the state to go pound sand! And the fishing charters, if possible/feasible, should fish in state policed waters, not open waters. There has got to be a way to stop these ridiculous power grabs by the feds!!!!

    • I suspect it’s the Coast Guard that has required this and they have jurisdiction in state waters.

  12. Our government is based on consent of the governed. Its past time for mass civil disobedience. In fact, just carry on and ignore these annoying fools.
    There is zero, no, none, benefits wearing a mask to stop an aerosol spread virus. Enough of this.
    We are American citizens, we must ignore or if forced to tell these clowns to get lost.

  13. The Democrats have exposed themselves as the hysterical anti science party.
    These insanely stupid rules have zero basis in reality or science based evidence, and a segment of our fellow citizens have also exposed themselves as utterly mindless sheep, gladly going along with with any and all rules, guidelines, and mandates that their overlords tell them to.
    Notice how the politicians, government bureaucrats, and media, are all saying exactly NOTHING about how simple it is to improve your metabolic health, but instead relentlessly push anti science hysteria to instill fear into the populace, and follow it with worthless, counterintuitive rules and mandates, with no fact based evidence to back up the reason(s) for them…..and the sheep happily comply.

  14. Nope, it is not the Coast Guard creating this craziness. They are just being told to enforce it.

  15. MORRIGAN wrote:
    “Hilarious in its twisted way. One would expect Coast Guard and CDC to have massive presence on the Rio Grande for obvious reasons. But no, they won’t exert their authority on expendable people who have nothing to lose, will they? Coast Guard and CDC don’t enforce “mandates” on people who could care less about them or their mandates.”.

    This is akin to the “No, you may not gather for church, but yes, they can gather for anti-American rallies and riots.” It’s all about twisted control.
    As a former commercial fisherman, I just have to laugh, because no way is this going to happen on a 32′ Bristol Bay gillnetter, or on a setnet beach site. To think it will is beyond ludicrous. But then I have to admit, there are probably a few “woke” fisherpersons who will happily comply, and they deserve whatever type of rotten fish borne bacterial infections they contract.

  16. Evidently we no longer have a process in this country.
    Legislative Branch = Congress (federal and state) makes law
    Executive Branch= Coast guard, troopers, and such. Enforces such laws handed down from the legislative branch.
    Is the cdc and coast guard now making law, and or is the cdc now running the department of transportation and coast guard. Homeland security was running the coast guard, of course who knows now. Of course Obiden is probably the one handing down the marching orders on this, pulling recommendation from the cdc.
    With created agencies such as the epa, cdc, and such, rules and Regs are ways of going around congress, because rules and regs are anymore just as enforceable as laws. In return you have government created unelected agencies creating rules and regs/law. This was never meant to be.

    • Coast Guard just enforces the laws and all I said was they (CG) has jurisdiction in state waters. What is this tyrannical move you speak of?

  17. The Fmsca is another example of a well known rules and Reg agency, that runs around making up rules and regs that one must follow. I’m not even sure the cdc was ever meant to be a rules and Reg agency, however I’m sure at this point they’ve been given inappropriate privileges.

  18. No-one at CDC was elected. Elected people make the laws. CDC doesn’t make law. It’s full of itself.

  19. AK, you’re right.
    The coast guard has no right to create rules, regs, or law. That would be like the troopers all sitting down and deciding to Willy Nilly make up some rules/laws of their own and start enforcing them. Like for example, no people named Bill may where their pink hat on Monday rule, $50 fine. Governmental agencies shouldn’t have this right either, but they slipped it in on us a long time ago, and unfortunately the people have come to accept this work around congress.

  20. Jim
    No one at the EPA was ever elected either, but they go around making rules and regs all day long too, bypassing our legislative process.

  21. It’s impossible to work and be safe while working at sea with a mask on. Simply test the crew, once onshore, for COVID. Period, done, best solution.

  22. This will cause a lot of health issues…as they already know!
    Since when does the CDC make the laws? After all their nonsense, are people still listening to them?!

  23. The administrative state creates the regulations and are enforced as laws.
    The administrators themselves are also referred to as the deep state.
    It isn’t some mysterious force and the players are well known, they are top public officials, like Dr.. Fauci. This is why voting for the GOP as it currently is led changes nothing.
    The deep or administrative state determines who will be president. Underestimating the volume of votes Trump had in 2016 led to an insufficient level of planned fraud in specific precincts. Having their power curtailed for 4 years was not tolerated and will not be tolerated going forward. This last election was crudely taken, but the process will be refined, to appear smooth.

  24. Yes these are all great questions and comments.
    Stop telling US how to live. More STUPIDNESS
    it’s a mandate not a law. Get over yourself, thinking you have Power over me and others.
    Not happening here. No masks for me this whole, last year. That’s why I’m not flying, more stupid rules.
    Wait wasn’t it 100 days for that person, wait are president. Saying wear your mask for 100 days, then we will be ok. Now it been extended to mid July.
    Joe, put your Diaper face mask on, before we throw you this, life preserver. More stupidness

  25. The Coast Guard has many more important duties to perform than being mask police. Fishing violations, safety equipment (not masks, real equipment like rafts and survival suits), drug smuggling, etc. Fauci, the CDC, and all their little minions are frauds.

  26. Gosh, I would think that in this point in the proceedings the CDC might want to do things that enhance the credibility of the agency. With rare exception, the agency has contributed very little over the course of the Wuhan pandemic. Has the CDC improved the lives of Americans? If so, show me. I do not understand why Congress funds this operation.

  27. US Corporation, state and municipalities make corporate by-laws. McDonald’s has by-laws but they don’t apply to U-haul or hospitals. The US Constitution is the law over everything and everybody else. Emergencies do not suspend the Constitution. Corporate employees follow their own bylaws; the public is not obliged to follow corporate bylaws. I want the republic recognized in these united states not the UK monarchies and emissaries sent to subjugate; still…

  28. Tempest in a tea pot.
    Rail all you like about how this is such a travesty but the guys that it’s aimed at won’t give a flying rip and as soon as they’re out of sight so will be any sign of masks.

  29. Another example of government being too big. Government should never have this much control over us.

  30. Commercial fishermen suck up quite a bit of federal money… maybe they should do what is asked of them. Everyone else had to.

  31. They apparently don’t know commercial fishermen. I doubt anyone is going to be wearing a mask unless they are grinding on a hull. Anyone dumb enough to try to enforce such stupidity will likely find themselves going for a swim………maybe with or without an anchor attached.

  32. Of course our Senator Murkowski instead of calling out the stupidity of such a notion, comes up with excuses as to why they should be exempt from a stupid, overreaching policy where they have no authority anyway, rather than outright condemning it for what it is.

  33. Why do they think they are immune to federal guidelines? Everyone else has to abide by them… you would think an industry that always has their hands out for federal welfare funds would be more compliant.

  34. And apparently you, Loren, along with the (usurper) Biden Administration and the US Coast Guard, are immune to logic and reason, as well as sanity.

  35. Why is this article written as if the CDC has any sort of authority? The CDC does not make laws. The CDC is a pharmaceutical company; nothing more.

  36. The answer to his nonsense is pretty simple as it starts with the pettyfogger, shyster BAR MEMBERS. Hold them personally responsible. Look up Alphonse Faggiolo on YouTube and Telegram. Learn the power of the affidavit. Take responsibility for YOUR life.

  37. Whatever happened to the Democrat and Pro Abortion argument of My Body My Choice. Just ignore the edicts that have no authority without a written law backing them.

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