Five fishermen from Shetland recently undertook man-overboard training at the Survitex facility in Aberdeen.

The free in-water course – funded by the Fishing Industry Safety Group, a partnership between the MCA, the RNLI, fishermen’s associations and Seafish – is designed to demonstrate how to avoid man-overboard incidents and improve chances of survival.

Sheila Keith of the Shetland Fishermen’s Association (SFA) said she would encourage all fishermen to attend future sessions. “Falling overboard is the biggest single cause of workplace fatalities in the fishing industry. Participants in this training get to experience realistic man- overboard situations under controlled conditions.

“Fishermen tend to prioritise looking after the fish and shellfish that they land, and often spend less time looking after themselves. Now is the time for skippers and crews to ensure they know what to do in the event of an incident. The training also stresses the importance of wearing a personal floatation device.”

Richard Gray, skipper of shellfish vessel Halcyon LK 467, said: “This is the best course I have ever attended, it was so realistic. It hit home that the wearing of a lifejacket is the difference between life and death.

Any excuses not to wear your lifejacket become trivial when you’re in an overboard scenario.”

David Robertson, skipper of whitefish trawler Mizpah LK 173, said: “It was a very worthwhile course to go on, learning and seeing first-hand the reality of dangerous situations at sea and the implications when ending up in the water.

“The practical side of the course was eye-opening, and hopefully more fishermen will do similar courses and learn more about the benefits of wearing lifejackets. The more PFDs worn, the more lives can be saved.”

More training sessions are being planned for the autumn.

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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