The latest Home and Dry campaign from the Fishing Industry Safety Group (FISG) is turning the spotlight on reducing capsize incidents after the UK’s worst year in the last decade for fishing fatalities.
Ten UK commercial fishermen have lost their lives in accidents at sea this year, making it the highest number of deaths in a decade, according to data from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB). This is double the yearly average over the past five years, and there were just two in 2020.
The Fishing Industry Safety Group (FISG) is launching its latest Home and Dry campaign for the fishing industry with advice on how to reduce the risk of capsizing. This follows recent campaigns on wearing Personal Flotation Devices and avoiding falling overboard in its goal to make the UK fishing industry safer with zero preventable deaths on fishing vessels.
Stability is now regulated as part of the new code for small vessels under 15m, according to MCA CEO and FISG chair Brian Johnson, who commented that this latest campaign is focused on how to keep vessels stable at sea and reduce the risk of capsizing.
‘We are highlighting the causes of stability issues at sea and giving clear guidance on how you can do your own stability checks on your vessel. It is important that anyone working on a fishing vessel understands what the dangers are and how to fix them,’ he said.
The Home and Dry campaign on stability awareness is asking skippers and fishing vessel owners to educate themselves about stability on their fishing vessel and to do their own stability and freeboard checks this winter.
Ashley Mullenger, who fishes for shellfish from Wells-next-the-Sea, who decided to get ahead on some of her stability checks.
‘We decided to do a roll test to check the stability of our vessel,’ she said.
‘It was quick and easy and now we know how to do it for next time, and we know more about how far we can push it before the risk of capsizing. I think it’s important to know how to check your stability and know the different things that can affect it.’
FISG has produced guidance on checking vessel stability, which is available on the Home and Dry website. This includes videos on how to do a roll test and measure their freeboard, and easy-to-understand animations detailing the main factors that can impact stability on a vessel.
‘We have lost too many lives to fishing over the years and our hearts go out to the families and communities that continue to be devastated by these losses. We know the industry have had a tough couple of years with the impact of the pandemic which may be leading to some people taking more risks,’ said FISG chair Brian Johnson.
‘The Home and Dry campaign has been running for 18 months and the campaign is making those who see it and engage with it more safety-conscious. Our last campaign on Man Overboard motivated them to buy new safety equipment which is great. But we need to do more to reach more vessel owners and skippers and get them to prioritise safety. Your catch is worthless if you are not coming home with it.’