A safety campaign to reduce fatalities and accidents in the UK’s under-10m fishing fleet has been launched.

The latest Home and Dry campaign features small-boat 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, from the Fishing Industry Safety Group (FISG), aims to improve the safety culture in the industry through the use of adverts, posters and banners in fishing communities, and on social media.

The FISG is a group of fishing industry organisations, charities, public bodies and regulators with the 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.

Newquay-based Martin Gilbert, skipper of the Fiona II. The new Home and Dry safety campaign features under-10m skippers from across the country. (Photo: Matt Willis)

Martin Gilbert from Newquay, skipper of the Fiona II, features in this year’s campaign. “I’m a single-handed potter, but I often go fishing alongside another vessel and we keep a watch for each other,” he said.

“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.”

Simon Potten, head of safety and training at Seafish, and a member of the FISG, said: “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, like constantly assessing the risks and wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) with a personal locator beacon (PLB) if the worst happens and they fall overboard.

“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.”

Amy Farish from Walney Island and her partner Jack Marklew also feature in the campaign. (Photo: Dan Rowley)

Under-10m 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 as under 10m accounted for 45% of all fishing industry fatalities where the person ended up in the water. Forty-seven percent of those fatalities on under-10m vessels were single-handed operators.

Amy Farish, a skipper from Walney Island, also features in the campaign with her partner, Jack Marklew. “Working with my partner on our boat means we promote each other’s safety when we are out fishing,” she said.

“My family and I are really close – we all live within five minutes of each other. I sadly lost my dad two years ago, so getting home safe to my mam and the rest of the family is what keeps me focused at sea.”

More information about the Home and Dry campaign, and advice for staying safe at sea, is available via the campaign’s Facebook and Instagram channels, and here.

FISG is our Safety Partner at the 2023 Fishing News Awards, taking place on 11 May 2023 in Aberdeen. Book your tickets here.


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