Fishermen are being urged to sign up for the latest series of Man Overboard (MOB) Awareness courses before funding comes to an end, reports Paul Scott.

The events, created by the Fishing Industry Safety Group, allow fishermen to experience what going overboard might be like. This is done using special environmental pools with rain, wind and wave machines that make the experience as realistic as possible.

The aim of the course is to help fishermen understand why they need to do everything they can to prevent anyone falling overboard from their vessel, along with highlighting the importance of wearing a PFD.

At present, the events, organised by Seafish and delivered by the RNLI, are free of charge for commercial fishers, with all travel, subsistence and accommodation costs reimbursed, plus a £200 training grant provided.

However, on announcing 10 new MOB events, Seafish said that the courses are likely to be the last ever under the current funding. It says that while it is hoped more events will take place in the future, funding rules may change.

Simon Potten, head of safety and training at Seafish, said: “The response we have had from the 335 fishermen who have attended previous events has been amazing. Without exception, the experience has made everyone more safety conscious and understanding of why they need to wear a PFD.

“Ten fishermen lost their lives last year, many as a result of falling or being dragged overboard, so I cannot stress enough how important these events are.”

The newly announced events, funded by Trinity House and the MCA, will take place at venues across the UK in October, November and December, with the final sessions scheduled for February 2023.

Fisherman Nigel Scourfield, from Dorset, attended a MOB event earlier this year. “It was an excellent course that was interesting and informative and provided a realistic in-the-water man-overboard simulation,” he said.

“I think that enabling as many fishermen as possible to be able to experience the difference between immersion with and without a PFD is key to changing attitudes towards wearing them at sea.”

Booking for the new events is now open, and Seafish is advising a quick response to avoid missing out.

“Although this is the last wave of events we can deliver under the current round of funding, we hope the fishing industry will want to see them continue. However, I would urge anyone interested to sign up now, as any future events may not be so generously funded,” said Simon Potten.

The newly announced dates and venues are as follows:

Cork: 9 October and 6 November
Aberdeen: 18-20 November Lowestoft: 30 November and 1-2 December
Fleetwood: 10-11 February

To book a place, email the Fishermen’s Training Team at Seafish on:

Alternatively, call Katie Hooper on: 07966 764 151, or Lee Haigh on: 07904 660 484.

For more information, visit:

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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