Marine / Campaign looks to reduce risk of fishermen falling overboard

A NEW campaign on man overboard prevention has launched in a bid to make the commercial fishing industry in Scotland safer.

Over the recent winter, seven fishermen lost their lives whilst working on fishing vessels, including one person off Shetland.

That incident, which occurred in February, remains under investigation.

Six of those seven fatal incidents saw fishermen ending up in the water.


Over the last 10 years, the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has reported 60 fatalities from UK fishing vessels, and 51 of those ended up in water. 

The Fishing Industry Safety Group (FISG) is launching its latest Home and Dry campaign focused on prevention of man overboard incidents.

To help reduce deaths at sea from falling overboard, the campaign is reminding those who work on fishing vessels to take three steps:

  • Complete a written risk assessment and review regularly
  • Practise man overboard drills regularly
  • Always wear a personal flotation device (PFD) on deck for if the worst happens

The campaign’s dedicated website offers helpful resources from a range of organisations, to help those working on fishing vessels to stay safe.


“Don’t wait for an accident to happen to brush up on safety management,” said John Clarke, a Scottish vessel owner and skipper who was pulled overboard by a rope in 2013.

“It’s not until I was in hospital, attached to a bed and having to sit through countless operations that it dawned on me that I was lucky to survive.

“It was at that moment that I decided I would do everything I could to ensure what happened to me never happened to one of my crew.”

Safety officer at the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation Derek Cardno said: “This campaign is coming at a crucial time for the fishing industry, with seven fishermen losing their lives over winter we want to ensure fishermen are doing everything they can to keep themselves safe at sea.”