Seafish welcomed UK maritime industry bodies’ pledge of more than £150,000 in additional funding to provide more commercial fishermen with free personal flotation devices (PFDs).
Fishing is the most dangerous peacetime profession in Britain, with 25% of fishermen in the UK claiming they have had an incident at sea which put their life at risk, according to Seafish research.
By wearing a PFD fishermen not only increase their chances of surviving if they go overboard, but should the worst happen it also increase the chances of a body being recovered. Without a body, families cannot register a death for seven years, close a bank account or settle life insurance or wills.
Working in partnership with the fishermen’s associations, the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, 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.
Simon Potten, Head of Safety, Training and Services at Seafish, said: “Seafish’s purpose is to help secure a sustainable and profitable future for the UK fishing industry. Fishermen are on the front line of this industry and their safety is fundamental to this.
Before receiving their free PFDs, Seafish requires fishermen to attend a short safety briefing.