A Peterhead councillor and skipper’s wife has welcomed a £1 million investment in fishing industry training and safety provision.
Free training and hundreds of new life vests are to be provided for those working in the UK’s most dangerous industry as part of the first Maritime Safety Week.
The Department for Transport initiative is firmly aimed at cutting the number of deaths in the industry.
Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani recently announced that an additional £700,000 will be provided to give more fishermen potentially lifesaving training on top of an existing £250,000 pot, which is matched by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.
Councillor Dianne Beagrie has warmly welcomed the scheme and believes it will go a long way to improving safety at sea.
No stranger to the worry of having her husband Wayne away at sea for months every year, Cllr Beagrie said: “It is heartening to see that additional investment is being made by the UK Government to ensure the safety of our fishermen.
“Our brave fishermen risk their lives every time they go to sea to bring us our seafood and we must do everything in our power to safeguard them.”
The Department for Transport will now work with the Seafish Industry Authority to deliver more than 500 personal floatation devices fitted with locator beacons, worth a total of £250,000, to help find people who have fallen overboard – the most common reason for fatalities at sea.
Last year there were six fishing fatalities, either through people falling overboard or due to issues affecting the stability of vessels.
Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani said: “Fishing remains the most dangerous industry in the UK, and so we must keep working to reduce the risks crew members face.
“We want to eliminate all preventable deaths by 2027, and the extra training and better equipment I’m announcing today will mean fewer fishermen getting into danger at sea.”
From October 23, all small fishing vessels will need to be fitted with an emergency beacon or have personal beacons for every member of crew to enable rescuers to find them.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is also looking, by 2020, to require skippers of vessels between seven metres and 16.5 metres to hold a Skipper’s Certificate as well as to implement a new Code of Practice for fishing vessels under 15m which will include stability requirements.