THE SCOTTISH Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) has decided against backing a call made by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch to make the wearing of lifejackets compulsory for commercial fishermen.
The MAIB said that the four fishermen who lost their lives during three accidents off Orkney, the Western Isles and Pembrokeshire could all have survived had they been wearing personal floating devices (PFDs).
With the loss of nine fishermen at sea so far this year, the MAIB said the rate with which fishermen were losing their lives by drowning was showing no sign of abating.
Safety officer for the SFF, Derek Cardno said an industry-led a scheme to supply PFDs to every fisherman in Scotland had a strong uptake.
He added: “We are not convinced that making the wearing of a PFD a mandatory requirement will make the sole difference that is required.
“We believe it is much better to focus on education and creating a new mind-set among fishermen.
“This includes a recent project working with a behavioural expert, which has produced some very enlightening results.”
But MAIB chief inspector Steve Clinch said the message is not getting through to fishermen “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,” he said.
The agency has now recommended to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) that legislation to make it compulsory for fishermen to wear lifejackets is introduced as quickly as possible.
“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,” he said.
“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.
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 380 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News