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Specialist life vests to improve fishing safety

New funding to improve safety in the fishing industry.

  • £1 million government investment in fishing safety
  • free training and hundreds of new life vests for those working in the UK’s most dangerous industry
  • part of the first Maritime Safety Week, run by the Department for Transport

Almost £1 million in government funding will be spent cutting deaths in the UK’s most dangerous industry.

Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani announced during a meeting with safety experts and coastal MPs that an additional £700,000 will be provided to give more fishing crews potentially life-saving training.

This is on top of an existing £250,000 pot, which is matched by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

The Department for Transport will also work with Seafish Industry Authority to deliver more than 500 personal floatation devices fitted with locator beacons, worth a total of £250,000, to help find people who have fallen overboard – the most common reason for fatalities at sea.

Last year there were 6 fishing fatalities, either through people falling overboard or due to issues affecting the stability of vessels.

Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani yesterday said:

Fishing remains the most dangerous industry in the UK, and so we must keep working to reduce the risks crew members face.

We want to eliminate all preventable deaths by 2027, and the extra training and better equipment I’m announcing today will mean fewer fishing crews getting into danger at sea.

Increasing safety on fishing vessels is one of the priorities of the Maritime Safety Action Plan, which was published by the Department for Transport on 1 July 2019.

The department will also be working with Trinity House and Seafish to promote fishing safety through a targeted radio campaign.

Since 2008, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has spent £2.75 million to deliver more than 25,000 free safety training sessions to fishing crews.

From 23 October 2019, all small fishing vessels will need to be fitted with an emergency beacon or have personal beacons for every member of crew to enable rescuers to find them.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is also looking, by 2020, to require skippers of vessels between 7 metres and 16.5 metres to hold a Skipper’s Certificate as well as to implement a new code of practice for fishing vessels under 15 metres which will include stability requirements.

Throughout the past year the UK has implemented new regulations to improve the living and working conditions on board fishing vessels. It also requires crew members to wear personal flotation devices if the risk of going overboard cannot be eliminated.

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