Dangers Boarding fishing vessels

The DTTS has highlighted the dangers of boarding fishing vessels after MCIB reports on two fatal incidents. Photo: MMG Welding – Compact Gangway

The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTS) has highlighted the dangers of boarding fishing vessels to all fishing vessel owners/operators, skippers, fishers and seafarers after two recent reports published by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) into two marine casualties involving fatal  incidents.

The full reports Report  No. 288 Fatal Incident at Killybegs Harbour and Report No. 292 Fatal Incident at Rosslare Europort may be obtained from the website of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board.

In response to the Marine Casualty Investigation Board’s recommendations, the purpose of this Marine Notice is to remind fishing vessel owners/operators, skippers, fishers and seafarers of the following:

  • The dangers associated with boarding and transiting across vessels.
  • The importance of wearing Personal Flotation Devices (PFD’s) while accessing vessels.
  • The dangers associated with boarding and transiting across vessels under the influence of alcohol.
  • To remind fishing vessel owners and skippers of the duty of care to provide a safe means of access to vessels while in the harbour and that a gangway or other suitable means, providing an appropriate and safe means of boarding a vessel shall be made available.

The DTTS wishes to draw attention to the following:

  • Before any person is permitted on board a vessel a safe means of  access is required to be provided. Gangways should be rigged or an alternative suitable safe means of boarding a vessel shall be provided.  
  • Gangways or ladders etc.including their associated equipment and  fittings should be inspected and deficiencies rectified.
  • The area around the means of access should be adequately illuminated at night, if there are no permanent fittings, portable lighting should be rigged.Safety nets should have the strength for the purpose for which they  are intended. They must be securely rigged as their purpose is to minimise the risk of injury to any person who may fall from the access equipment.The Department wishes to remind all fishers, the importance of wearing PFD’s while accessing vessels and while working on exposed decks.
  • Wearing a PFD will increase your chance of survival in the event of  entering the water.You must wear a personal flotation device at all times when on the exposed deck of a fishing vessel, whether at sea, in harbour or coming to and from moorings.If you are working in or near water then you must wear your PFD. Wearing a PFD or life jacket will maximize your chances of surviving an accident. Suitable protective equipment should be worn as appropriate including PFD’s fitted with a self-activating light, whistle and reflective material.
  • Safety harnesses of the arrestor type should be utilised, rather than fall restraints.

The Department also wishes to highlight the risks associated with the consumption of alcohol and/or drug consumption and the dangers associated with boarding and transiting across vessels.

  • It is evident from the recent MCIB reports that alcohol consumption continues to be a significant factor in marine incidents. A number of incidents have occurred where diminished human performance due to the effects of alcohol consumption have been primary causes or contributing factors, leading to the loss of life in some cases. 
  • Alcohol speeds up the rate of body cooling and thus increases the risk of hypothermia in the event that you fall into the water.

Source: Department  of  Transport, Tourism and Sport

Dangers of Boarding Fishing Vessels Highlighted after Two Fatal Incidents

by editor time to read: 6 min
0