Making fishing safer in the UK

Fishing is one of the riskiest jobs in the world. Find out how to make you, your crew and your fishing vessel safer.

One of our goals at Seafish is to lower the number of preventable accidents and deaths on fishing vessels and make the fishing industry in the UK safer.  We work with fishing organisations, Government, regulators and charities to give fishing vessel owners, skippers and crew the support they need to get home safely. 

We are also a member of the Fishing Industry Safety Group (FISG). The group was set up with the ultimate goal of zero preventable deaths on fishing vessels in the UK and to reduce the number of accidents. Find out more about FISG and its latest campaign on the Home and Dry website

The Home and Dry campaign launched in July 2020 to raise awareness of improving safety in the fishing industry.

Safety Training

There are mandatory courses that need to be taken before anyone is allowed on a fishing vessel.

One of the best ways to improve safety on a fishing vessel is to ensure all owners, skippers and crew have had recent safety training.  We help to deliver and fund a range of voluntary safety training too. 

We are currently running funded Man overboard Awareness events with the RNLI at environmental training pools across the UK. Anyone working on a commercial fishing vessel is encouraged to book up to attend the events, which are fully funded. Spaces are limited so early sign up is recommended.  

A man is in a training pool being lifted by a winch a rope to simulate a helicopter rescue.

These are strenuous, physical events, which are not for the faint-hearted. You should be in good physical condition to take part. Participants will be in the pool to experience a realistic man overboard experience under controlled conditions. 

Follow the link below for dates and venues and how to book.

Funding for safety equipment

The right equipment and regular training is needed to keep everyone on board a fishing vessel safe. It is the vessel owner and skipper’s responsibility to make this happen. 

Grants might be available from the Government to cover the cost of some safety equipment. 

Our recent funding schemes to help towards the cost of Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) and Personal Location Beacons (PLBs) have now closed. We hope to be able to offer more funding in future. 

Subsea hazard alerts 

Our Kingfisher Information Services provide maps of subsea structures and hazards on the seabed around the UK. This information is available for free to commercial fishing vessel owners and skippers. 

Why safety at sea is important 

In the past 10 years, 71 men have lost their lives whilst working on a fishing vessel in the UK. There’s also been 100’s of accidents. The majority of these incidents are preventable. This makes working on a fishing vessel one of the riskiest jobs to do in the UK. These statistics come from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) which publishes annual data on incidents involving commercial fishing vessels.

There’s been more effort by the fishing industry in the UK in the past few years to make fishing safer and the numbers of incidents is reducing. The ILO188 Working in Fishing Convention came in to force in 2019 to improve the working lives of people working on fishing vessels. This includes new laws on safety such as: 

  • Risk assessments to be written down and discussed with everyone working on the vessel
  • Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) must be worn on deck at all times unless a risk assessment shows there is no need to wear one.

There is more information on ILO188 on the UK Government website