Man-overboard awareness training could save your life – or that of one of your crewmates – as the Fishing Industry Safety Group explains

The recent success of the Fishing Industry Safety Group (FISG) Man Overboard Awareness training events has led to the scheduling of extra dates over the summer. The additional events will be held in South Shields in May and Poole in August.

The events, which aim to highlight the dangers of falling overboard from fishing vessels, are part of the work by the FISG to reduce the number of preventable deaths in the industry. Seafish is organising the free events in partnership with the RNLI and funding from maritime charity Trinity House.

So far, 214 fishermen and women have taken part in events at pools across the UK. The feedback from those who have been involved has been hugely positive.

Katie Hooper is a fishermen’s training advisor at Seafish, and manages the bookings for the events alongside her colleague Lee Haigh. She decided to take part in one of the events so she could use her experience when encouraging others to sign up.

Katie said: “What surprised me the most was the short amount of time you have in the water before you become unable to stay afloat.

“It changed how I viewed safety at sea. It really emphasised the importance of wearing a lifejacket, and knowing what to do in a situation if you do go overboard.”

Fishing vessel owners and skippers have a responsibility to keep themselves and their crew safe. There are legal requirements for safety onboard vessels, and safety should always be taken seriously. However, some people working in the fishing industry have said that it took a scary moment when working at sea to motivate them to make safety a bigger priority.

Katie added “Our Man Overboard Awareness events are designed to give participants a taste of what it might be like to end up in the water in working gear, and without safety equipment.

“Attending a Man Overboard Awareness event is the only time you’ll get to have this experience in a safe, controlled environment with somebody right there to help you. The only other time you’ll experience this is if you go overboard at sea – and your only chance of survival is to wear a personal flotation device, and have a plan on how to get back onboard.

“But fundamentally, you should not wait until something bad happens when you are out at sea to start taking safety more seriously.”

Sign up for an MOB Awareness event

Spaces are available at future Man Overboard Awareness events – it could save your life. Contact training@seafish.co.uk to book.

The course is free, and costs to attend can be reimbursed.

Upcoming events will take place at:

  • Survivex, Aberdeen – 10, 11 and 12 May
  • South Shields Marine School – 25 and 26 May
  • RNLI College, Poole – 2 and 3 August

The FISG is a stakeholder group that aims to improve the safety of commercial fishing at sea, with the ultimate goal of zero preventable deaths at sea. The group is made up of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Seafish, the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, the Northern Ireland Fishermen’s Federation, the Welsh Fishermen’s Association – Cymdeithas Pysgotwyr Cymru, the RNLI and the Shipbuilders’ and Shiprepairers’ Association.

If you can’t make it to an event, check the Fishing Industry Safety Group’s website here for advice on safety at sea, including man-overboard situations.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here

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