Fishing safety has been in the news a lot recently. In Alaska, pods of killer whales have been terrorising fishing crews, while in Canada, a fisherman tragically lost his life after rescuing a whale trapped in lines.
Safety is always at the top of our agenda when designing products – as it should be for anyone setting foot on a fishing vessel – so we want your help to put together the ultimate guide to fishing safety.
Whether it’s a must-have piece of safety gear, or a habit you’ve developed over the years that keeps you out of harm’s way, we want to know about it. Leave your comments below about safety tips for working at sea.
Expert safety tips
Tony Walker is a well-known commercial fisherman from Whangamata in New Zealand. He was The Face of Stormline in 2015 and we’re lucky enough to get him back for a chat two years later.
“My biggest safety tip is to do regular emergency drills onboard the vessel. The more realistic the better.”
“When crew practice the emergency drills often it becomes second nature and if an emergency does happen there is no panic, the crew all know exactly what to do.”
“It is no use breaking out the emergency fire pump in a real fire only to find out it has not been running since the last survey and will not start.”
“Emergency drills carried out on a regular basis keep the crew up to standard and the safety equipment in good operating order. My second safety tip is the Stormline flotation bib pants. What a bloody good idea.”
Rebecca Weil is Research Co-ordinator at the North East Research Center for Occupational Health & Safety.
“We are working to reduce the number of drowning incidents from falling overboard, and advocate wearing life jackets. No-one is immune to the unexpected. Do drills, think about the unexpected, and make sure that everyone on the boat understands what to do to prevent and respond to falls overboard.”
Top safety tip from Stormline
We really rate floatation gear for fishermen, but especially when it’s lightweight, easy-to-wear and comfortable.
Here’s Stormline’s very own Regan McMillan giving a floatation bib demo.
Lobster fishermen from Maine wearing the 662 Flotation bib as part of a PFD trial run by the US Government.
Got a safety tip you want to share?
You can either email your safety tips to us here – [email protected], or comment below.
Safety tip. I am a frigie, not a commercial fisherman. But here’s a tip: Don’t piss the frigies off, lol!
No – seriously… – lots of fishing boats have refrigerated holds. All sorts of designs, all sorts of places. The thing is, a lot of them have evaporators in them that hold pressurized refrigerant. The danger is that the frige circuit fails and leaks refrigerant into the hold (so, this applies to any unvented, enclosed space that frige gas could bent to). If the hold becomes full of refrigerant, anyone going in there has a high likelihood of either dying or becoming heinously unwell. And they may not realise they are breathing refrigerant until it’s too late. I know, I’ve nearly been bowled by it myself (couldn’t stand up for about ten minutes though). This scenario happened on a boat I do work for, when a crew member climbed down into the fish hold from the deck. Luckily for him they were in port and missed him pretty rapidly and managed to get him out. Only just though, because he was a big lad, and he was out for the count… Thing is, it’s not just a lack of oxygen. What happens is they are replacing the air with a chemical. Not supposedly badly toxic in most cases but don’t count on this with all the misinformation our industry gets! Anyway, it still gets absorbed where it’s not wanted…
Worst case with a hold full of refrigerant – one crew goes down, succumbs – then another goes to help, he gets tipped over as well, and so on…
Hi – what a great tip. Thanks for sharing. Is it cool if we share this in our newsletter?