Fishing remains the most dangerous peacetime occupation in the UK. This already hazardous job is made even more difficult by the 100,000 kilometres of cables and pipelines and 4,000 surface and subsea structures that lie off the coast of the UK and northern Europe. These obstacles frequently become hazards for fishing vessels; snagging fishing gear or leading to collisions which have caused capsizes and loss of life. Damaging this infrastructure can cost offshore operators millions of pounds.
Kingfisher Information, run by Seafish, works with offshore industries to map the locations of surface and subsea structures to show potential fishing hazards. For the first time this valuable information is now being taught in fishermen's training courses using state of the art animations to make the dangers of subsea hazards clear.
The animations show the scale of the oil and gas wellheads, cables, renewable energy infrastructure and other hazards and just how easy it is for these to become an issue for fishing vessels and equipment
Kingfisher Manager Matthew Frow said the animations have been created to help trainers convey complex information.
He said: "Accredited training providers already have a huge task ahead of them covering all the elements of fishing safety. We want to make explaining subsea hazards as simple as possible and in a way that fishermen can actually visualise the danger.
"We're excited to be working closely with training providers and are hopeful they will find the training material, particularly the films, an interesting way to demonstrate this information to course attendees."
RNLI Fishing Safety Manager Frankie Horne said the new training materials will help keep fishermen safe.
Mr Horne said: "The Kingfisher work to raise awareness of hazardous offshore structures is first class. We need to show people the real size and scale of these structures in comparison to fishing gear and these animations will be a real eye opener to those on training courses.
"There's no doubt they will improve understanding and raise some good discussions."
Scottish Fisherman's Federation (SFF) Marine Safety & Training Officer Derek Cardno said: "Information is vital for a safe and successful fishing trip. For many years the UK fleet has benefitted from the safety information provided by Kingfisher, which has avoided the tragic fishing incidents that we have seen in the past. The UK fleet relies on this safety information.
"The SFF has fishing safety and training at its heart. The new training material that Kingfisher has developed will certainly help fishermen appreciate the risks presented by offshore structures and will improve offshore awareness.
"Our hope for this new training method is that fishermen will understand the dangers of offshore structures and will use that information to stay safe whilst at sea."
The animations are also available on the Seafish You Tube channel. Click here to view.