The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has investigated the deaths of nine fishermen so far this year. Today (Thursday), the MAIB has recommended that the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) moves quickly to introduce legislation to make it compulsory that fishermen wear life jackets on commercial fishing vessels. The recommendation coincides with the publication of three MAIB reports into fatal fishing accidents.
Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents Steve Clinch said:
“The MAIB rarely recommends the introduction of new legislation to solve safety problems, but the rate that commercial fishermen are losing their lives due to drowning shows no sign of reducing. Indeed, this has been a particularly bad year: the MAIB has investigated the deaths of nine commercial fishermen, and today is publishing three reports covering the deaths of four. All four might well have survived had they been wearing a lifejacket when they entered the water.
“In the cold waters around the UK survival time can be measured in minutes unless a life jacket is being worn. However, this message is not getting home despite a three year campaign that has seen almost every commercial fisherman in the UK receive a free life jacket. Evidence from other countries shows that education campaigns alone have little effect on behaviour, but when backed by legislation the change is both significant and sustained. In order to prevent further unnecessary loss of commercial fishermen’s lives, I am therefore recommending today that the Maritime and Coastguard Agency moves quickly to introduce legislation making it compulsory for fishermen to wear personal flotation devices on the working decks of commercial fishing vessels while they are at sea.”Follow