View Full Version : Ireland launches campaign to persuade fishermen to wear lifejackets

Davie Tait
10th November 2011, 15:35
http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fullstory.php/aid/16531/Ireland_launches_campaign_to_persuade_fishermen_to _wear_lifejackets.html

A NEW campaign has been launched to persuade more Irish fishermen to wear their lifejackets while at sea.

Backed by the Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Irish Water Safety (IWS) and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), the campaign is similar to one undertaken in the UK in the past year or two.

BIM says that despite seven Irish fishermen losing their lives at sea so far this year a laissez-faire attitude to safety still exists in the industry, particularly in relation to the wearing of lifejackets.

In an effort to get fishermen to take notice of the real danger of going to sea without wearing a lifejacket, Noel O’Sullivan, a fisherman from Castletownbere in Co. Cork will act as Ambassador for the campaign. Noel survived an accident at sea, along with his six crew, when his vessel ‘Discovery’ capsized off the Isles of Scilly almost five years ago.

Describing the accident, he said: "I will never forget that day. As we were hauling in the catch, I knew there was something wrong. She was listing dangerously and I instructed the crew to launch the life rafts and jump overboard. As we jumped, she listed violently and capsized onto one of the life-rafts - puncturing it…..I treaded the freezing water for more than two hours until we were rescued. I was terrified going back fishing but I went back as it’s my livelihood, it’s what I know…the difference is, I am more aware of the dangers now and I insist all my crew wear lifejackets. I would appeal to all fishermen to do the same’.

The fatality rate for Ireland's fishing sector stands at 88 per 100,000, making it 48 times more hazardous than other occupations.

Jason Whooley, BIM’s chief executive, said: "I am sincerely asking all fishermen to wear their lifejackets. It could be the difference between life and death, it is that simple. Despite being a legal requirement, it is not something that is taken seriously enough in the fishing sector."

Current RNLI statistics suggest that less than 35 per cent of fishermen regularly wear a lifejacket because many feel that wearing a jacket inhibits their mobility and makes working on deck much more difficult.

Part of this awareness campaign will be highlighting that there are a growing range of lifejackets that fishermen can use to suit their method of fishing and skippers and crew have a responsibility to themselves, work colleagues and family to consider the available options. In fact, there are new lifejackets on the market that are extremely light and compact and would not interfere with work on deck at all.