Deadline extended for life saving scheme

01 June 2018

Welsh vessel owners have an extra month to apply for discounted Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)

It's not an option for fishing vessels to not be seaworthy, so why would you send your crew to sea without the right equipment?

The International Labour Organisation: Work in Fishing Convention (ILO 188) will likely require all commercial fishermen to wear PFDs on deck while at sea by the end of this year. The use of Personal Location Beacons (PLBs), or equivalent, will also become mandatory for small fishing vessels in October 2019 under the Small Fishing Vessel Code of Practice (MSN 1871).

To ensure all vessel owners are ready for the change the Welsh Fishing Safety Committee, supported by Seafish, has extended the window to apply for heavily-discounted PFDs to enable as many Welsh fishermen as possible to own this vital piece of safety equipment.

Fishing remains the deadliest peacetime occupation in the UK, yet many fishermen choose not to wear a potentially life-saving PFD.

The Welsh Fishing Safety Committee is currently offering the latest PFD with in-built PLB for the subsidised cost of £15, a saving of over £300 on the normal RRP.

The deadline to apply for this equipment has been extended until the Saturday 30 June, giving owners of active, Welsh-registered commercial fishing vessels an extra month to obtain this equipment for their skipper and crew.

Since the project launched in April, more than 200 applicants have applied for 450 PLBs, showing strong demand in such a short space of time.

Vessel owners are being urged to take advantage of this offer as fisherman and member of the Welsh Fishing Safety Committee Brett Garner said: "You only have one chance in this life, there is no second chance.

"Think of your family; don't end up feeding the fish."

Dr Holly Whiteley, Seafish Wales Manager said: "Fishermen are five times more likely to survive an overboard incident when wearing a PFD, yet over 95% of UK fishermen still aren't wearing them.

"If the new legislation comes into force as expected, wearing a PFD will no longer be a choice, so we urge vessel owners to take
advantage of this opportunity to access this life saving piece of kit for just £15."

Owners of active, Welsh-registered commercial fishing vessels can apply for a grant-aided PFD with integrated PLB by visiting the Seafish website and downloading the application form. Forms can also be requested directly from Seafish by calling 0131 524 8602 before the 30th of June.

This opportunity has been made possible by funding received from the Welsh Government and from Seafarers UK, a charity that has been helping people in the maritime community for 100 years.