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Fishermen Still Taking Risks at Sea

26 May 2015

UK - Fishermen are still taking risks at sea, even though many are aware of the dangers, according to new research from Seafish, the UK's industry authority on seafood.

Almost half (46 per cent) of commercial fishermen in the UK consider their job to be dangerous, yet one third (34 per cent) confessed that they rarely or never wear a potentially lifesaving Personal Flotation Device (PFD).

Seafish's safety at sea campaign, Sea You Home Safe, is continuing to call for the 12,000 fishermen across the UK to think about their safety before setting sail.

Over the past year 7,000 new lightweight PFDs, worth £100 each, have been given to fishermen across the UK.

Just over one third (37 per cent) of commercial fishermen said they always wear PFDs at sea, up by 11 per cent from a year ago, and a further third said they wore one most or some of the time.

Three quarters (77 per cent) said they did so because it would save their life. One quarter (23 per cent) acknowledged that, should the worst happen, a PFD would help ensure that their body is returned to their family.

Simon Potten, Head of Safety, Training and Services at Seafish commented: "The message appears to be getting through, with regular use of PFDs up by 11 per cent.

"However, there are still a large number of fishermen taking unnecessary risks every time they set foot on the deck at sea without a PFD on.

"The research highlighted that a third (30 per cent) considered accidents at sea to be mostly down to events beyond their control. Which further emphasises the need to take as many precautions as possible."

Working closely with the fishing industry, the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, the RNLI and the Fishermen's Mission, Seafish's campaign is supporting 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 benefited from the initiative, with rollout to the remaining fishermen expected throughout 2015.

Further Reading

More information on the Sea You Home Safe campaign is available here.

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