Fishermen in the Plymouth area could soon be receiving lifejackets with a personal locator beacon (PLB) installed, that will give rescue services an exact GPS position if they go overboard, reports Tim Oliver.

Above: The new PFD fitted with a PLB that fishermen in the Plymouth area would benefit from, pending a successful application by Plymouth Council to the EU for EMFF for the pioneering project.

The advantage of the PLB in the lifejacket is that it will give rescuers an exact position to head for, instead of having to search an approximate area; saving time and increasing survival chances.

Plymouth Council has applied to the EU for grants from the EMFF for 250 of the lifejackets, which cost £500 and will be given free to fishermen if the application is successful.

GPS Lifejackets

Looe RNLI crews carried out trials of the new PLB-equipped PFD with the local trawler Maret earlier this month.

The PLB fitting is the idea of Clive Palfrey, who works for MarineCo and is helmsman of the Looe lifeboat. He put forward the idea to Plymouth Council, which has followed it up with an application for EU funding. The lifejackets were featured on the local BBC TV Spotlight programme.

The MAIB said that four out of six fishermen fatalities in 2016 were not wearing a lifejacket. It is hoped that the increased chances of survival by wearing a PLB lifejacket will encourage more fishermen to wear them.

The MCA is considering making the wearing of lifejackets compulsory by 2020.

Further details in Fishing News soon.


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