UK - An emotional safety at sea campaign, Sea You Home Safe, fronted by TV broadcaster and Fishermen’s Apprentice, Monty Halls, is calling for the 12,000 fishermen across the UK to think about their safety before setting sail.
Research, launched today by Seafish, the industry authority on seafood, has shown that a quarter of fishermen have experienced a significant accident at sea where their life was at risk. Over half (52 per cent) of the fishermen surveyed agreed that their job was dangerous, yet only 25 per cent of fishermen said they regularly wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD).
The most recent annual figures show that there were 260 accidents involving UK fishing vessels with 44 serious injuries and six deaths. Ninety four fishermen have lost their lives in the past 10 years, making fishing the most dangerous peacetime profession.
Monty Halls said: “Fishermen are our last, true, hunter-gathers and the profession comes with inherent dangers. The research that Seafish conducted highlighted that UK fishermen know their work can be dangerous and they even acknowledged that their families worry about them whilst they’re working. Yet a large number are not wearing the appropriate safety equipment.
“PFDs not only help to save lives but wearing the device will mean that, should the worst happen, a body can be recovered. If a body is not recovered a death certificate cannot be issued for seven years and this can cause additional stress to a bereaved family. The consequences are vast, from insurance not being paid, wills not being settled and bank accounts not able to be closed.
“If you were in a car, you would wear a seatbelt, the same should go for a PFD when you’re at sea.”
Simon Potten, Head of Safety, Training and Services at Seafish commented: “At Seafish, our purpose is to help secure a sustainable and profitable future for the UK seafood industry. The safety and welfare of its primary producers, the fishermen, is fundamental to this.
“Fishing safety is a concern and fatalities are unacceptable. A PFD can save a life and it is disappointing that such a high number of fishermen put themselves in additional danger by not using them.”
Working closely with the fishing industry, the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, the RNLI and the Fishermen’s Mission, Seafish is backing a Fishing Industry Safety Group (FISG) initiative to promote the wearing of PFDs by fishermen.
FISG aims to ensure that every commercial fisherman in the UK is provided with a PFD. So far, around 7,000 fishermen in Scotland, Northern Ireland and parts of England and Wales have benefitted from the initiative, with rollout to the remaining fishermen expected throughout 2014 and 2015.
For more information and to show your support for our fishermen’s safety, please visit: http://www.seafish.org/.
TheFishSite News Desk