Fishermen urged to ‘stay safe’ on deck in new RNLI campaign

This RNLI poster warns of the consequences of deck machinery incidents.
This RNLI poster warns of the consequences of deck machinery incidents.
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Whitby fishermen are being urged to stay safe by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

New figures show that 88 people were injured or killed in deck machinery incidents on fishing vessels in UK waters over the past five years.

Furthermore, RNLI lifeboats in the North of England were required to launch 66 times to commercial fishing-related incidents last year, rescuing 113 people and saving four lives.

As well as encouraging skippers and vessel owners to apply for funding through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) to help replace older, more dangerous deck machinery on their boats, the RNLI is encouraging fishermen to take extra care on deck – with a new safety video being released in partnership with Seafish.

Data released by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch shows that four fishermen tragically lost their lives in deck machinery incidents from 1 January 2011 to 10 November 2015, with a further 84 injuries being suffered by commercial fishing crew.

Frankie Horne, RNLI fishing safety manager, said: “Commercial fishing can be demanding and dangerous, especially in rough conditions throughout the winter months.

“All fishing crew should be fully trained on the equipment they are using and regular risk assessments should be carried out to spot hazards and dangers on deck.”

Steve Clinch, chief inspector of Marine Accidents at the MAIB, said: “Year after year, the MAIB receives numerous reports of fishermen suffering crush injuries, amputations and even death as the result of accidents involving deck machinery on fishing boats.

“Sadly, in almost all cases, accidents which occur when operating deck machinery are avoidable if fishermen undertake some basic training and adopt safe working practices. I would therefore recommend this awareness video to all fishermen, but especially skippers.

“Any fishermen going to sea should always take the time to consider carefully the potential risks of any hauling or shooting operation and take all necessary measures to protect everyone on board.

“Too many limbs, livelihoods and lives have been lost because fishermen have taken unnecessary risks.”

To view the safety video, and to find out more about how to apply for an EMFF grant, visit: RNLI.org/DeckMachinery.