Skippers take lead role in drive to improve fishing industry’s safety culture
As the weather starts to improve and the days get longer, a new commercial fishing safety campaign has launched today to reduce fatalities and accidents amongst the UK’s small fishing vessel fleet.
Under 10 metre vessels make up around 64% of the UK’s fishing fleet. Data from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) shows that between 2007 and 2022, those working on vessels registered Under 10 metres accounted for 45% of all fishing industry fatalities where the person ended up in the water. 47% of those fatalities on Under 10m vessels were single handed operators.
The latest Home and Dry campaign from the Fishing Industry Safety Group features Under 10 metre fishing vessel skippers from across the country reflecting on what they miss most when out at sea and what they do to get themselves ‘back home and dry’. The campaign is aiming to improve the safety culture in the fishing industry with adverts, posters and banners in fishing communities and on social media.
Martin Gilbert from Newquay stars in the campaign film on his vessel the Fiona II. He says:
I’m a single-handed potter but I often go fishing alongside another vessel and we keep a watch for each other. Being mindful of risks whilst we’re out at sea is so important to me, and my family. I have grandchildren who I want to see grow up.
Amy Farish, a female skipper from Walney Island, also features in the campaign film with her partner, Jack Marklew. She says:
Working with my partner on our boat means we promote each other's safety when we are out fishing. My family and I are really close, we all live within 5 minutes of each other. I sadly lost my dad 2 years ago so getting home safe to my mam and the rest of the family is what keeps me focused at sea.
Seafish is part of the Fishing Industry Safety Group (FISG), a group of fishing industry organisations, charities, public bodies, and regulators with a mission of improving the safety of commercial fishing at sea. The group launched the Home and Dry campaign in 2020 to share information and advice on safety at sea.
The people in our fishing industry go out to sea to bring food to our plates and they should always get home again to their families and communities. Home and Dry is about reminding those who go out to sea to do everything they can to stay safe. Some of those safety actions are done before getting on the boat such as regular training and safety drills. Others happen at sea such as wearing a PFD with a PLB and constantly assessing the risks.
"We are focusing our efforts on the under 10m fleet this time around as they are often alone so there isn’t always someone there to help if something goes wrong. The Home and Dry campaign is a resource for anyone who works on a commercial fishing vessel but we would really encourage those on smaller vessels to take notice and think about what they could do differently next time they go out to sea.”
The website www.homeanddry.uk has information and advice on staying safe at sea. It includes safety hints and tips from those who work on fishing vessels.