Fishing industry suffers worst year in a decade for fishing fatalities

Latest Home and Dry fishing safety campaign from the Fishing Industry Safety Group (FISG) turns the spotlight on reducing capsize incidents.

Ten commercial fishermen have tragically lost their lives in accidents at sea this year, making it the highest number of deaths in a decade, according to data from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB). This compares to 2 deaths in 2020 and double the yearly average over the past 5 years.

Today, the Fishing Industry Safety Group (FISG) has launched its latest Home and Dry campaign for the fishing industry with advice on how to reduce the risk of capsizing. This follows recent campaigns on wearing Personal Flotation Devices and avoiding falling overboard in its goal to make the UK fishing industry safer with zero preventable deaths on fishing vessels.

Photo shows a mock up of a fishing vessel at sea. One side is upright, the other has capsized. Text says Know Your Limits. Unstable Vessels Capsize.
A visual from the campaign highlighting the need to be aware of vessel stability.

The Fishing Industry Safety Group (FISG), is a group of fishing industry organisations, charities, public bodies and regulators set up to improve the safety of commercial fishing at sea.

We have lost too many lives to fishing over the years and our hearts go out to the families and communities that continue to be devastated by these losses.

"We know the industry have had a tough couple of years with the impact of the pandemic which may be leading to some people taking more risks.”

"The Home and Dry campaign has been running for 18 months and the campaign is making those who see it and engage with it more safety-conscious. Our last campaign on Man Overboard motivated them to buy new safety equipment which is great.

"But we need to do more to reach more vessel owners and skippers and get them to prioritise safety. Your catch is worthless if you are not coming home with it.
Simon Potten, Head of Safety and Training at Seafish and FISG member.

The Home and Dry campaign on stability is asking skippers and fishing vessel owners to educate themselves about stability on their fishing vessel and to do their own stability and freeboard checks this winter

Stability is now regulated as part of the new code for small vessels under 15m, so the latest campaign is focused on how to keep vessels stable at sea and reduce the risk of capsizing.

"We are highlighting the causes of stability issues at sea and giving clear guidance on how you can do your own stability checks on your vessel. It is important that anyone working on a fishing vessel understands what the dangers are and how to fix them.
Brian Johnson, FISG Chair and CEO of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

FISG has produced guidance for the fishing industry on checking stability which is available on the Home and Dry website (www.homeanddry.uk). This includes videos on how to do a roll test and measure their freeboard, and easy-to-understand animations detailing the main factors that can impact stability on a vessel.

Stability Awareness training courses are also available across the UK with funding available to cover the cost of the course.  

Photo shows fisher Ashley Mullenger standing in front of a fishing vessel
Ashley Mullenger, fisher from Wells-next-the-Sea, has videoed her and her skipper doing a roll test on their vessel to help others know what to do.

Ashley Mullenger, a fisher from Wells-next-the-Sea, who decided to get ahead on some of her stability checks says:

We decided to do a roll test to check the stability of our vessel. It was quick and easy and now we know how to do it for next time, and we know more about how far we can push it before the risk of capsizing.

"I think it’s important to know how to check your stability and know the different things that can impact it.

All the stability information is available on www.homeanddry.uk including links to videos and other safety resources.