Campaign launched to reduce man overboard deaths on UK fishing vessels

Photo: Sea Fish Industry Authority

The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) recently began a new initiative that seeks to help fishing vessel operators throughout the UK to reduce the risk of crew deaths from falling overboard.

The SFF said the campaign was launched in the wake of recent tragic losses, particularly over the previous winter when seven fishermen lost their lives while working on their respective vessels. Six of those fatal incidents involved fishermen ending up in the water.

Over the last 10 years (2011 to 2020), the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) reported 60 fatalities from UK fishing vessels and 51 of those ended up in water. Of those deaths, 25 were recorded as man overboard incidents.

The highest number of fatalities is on vessels under 15 metres, the MAIB findings revealed.

The SFF’s Fishing Industry Safety Group (FISG) has thus released guidance focused on prevention of man overboard incidents.

To help reduce deaths at sea from falling overboard, the campaign is reminding those who work on fishing vessels to take three steps:

  • Complete a written risk assessment and review regularly
  • Practise man overboard drills regularly
  • Always wear a personal flotation device (PFD) on deck for if the worst happens

The campaign’s dedicated safety website offers resources from a range of organisations, to help those working on fishing vessels to stay safe. It includes videos on how to do a risk assessment, advice on man overboard drills, and training and how to wear a PFD properly.

Baird Maritime

The best maritime site on the web. The sea's our scene!