Reul a Chuain wearing pfd practising man overboard procedures

The Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents at the MAIB has stressed the importance of  practising man overboard procedures following the tragic accident onboard the ‘Reul A Chuain’

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has released its first Safety Digest of 2023.

Andrew Moll, Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents at the MAIB calls it “the more important of the MAIB’s biannual Safety Digests because it is published as the northern hemisphere emerges from winter”.

On this edition of the Digest, the Chief Inspector says that good system knowledge and well-practised safety drill are helping in preventing serious incidents. He says: “This digest has a good balance of stories but perhaps with an increased number of incidents and accidents that were controlled early on by a well-trained crew and so did not escalate into a disaster or tragedy.”

On the unfortunate man overboard incident on the Reul a Chuain, where one fisherman died tragically, he said:

This “helps me make the point that it is too late to start thinking about man overboard procedures when you have someone in the water. One of MAIB’s key safety messages for 2023 is not just to think about how you would recover an unconscious man overboard, but to actually practice it as realistically as possible. Put simply, if your risk assessment identifies a risk of falling or being knocked overboard, especially if one of the mitigations is wearing a personal flotation device, then should that occur the next task will be man overboard recovery.”

Mr Moll still stressed the importance of practising man overboard procedures. He says, “Putting a lifejacket on is easy; recovering a man overboard is not – please practice it.”

The Digest examines a wide range of accidents from across the marine industry including the fishing sector.

One incident was where a 10-metre fishing boat was in collision with a general cargo ship in foggy conditions and the importance of sounding a foghorn in such conditions. Another incident reported is where a 15-metre gill netter ran aground after the skipper fell asleep at the wheel after being awake for more than 20 hours.  The Digest also looks at the importance of regularly checking the condition of nails in the hull if you are the owner of a wooden fishing vessel.

To read more click below:

Martin Gilbert from Newquay stars in the campaign on his vessel the Fiona II. He says:

“I’m a single-handed potter but I often go fishing alongside another vessel and we keep a watch for each other. Being mindful of risks whilst we’re out at sea is so important to me, and my family.  I have grandchildren who I want to see grow up.”

Amy Farish, a female skipper from Walney Island, also features in the campaign with her partner, Jack Marklew. She says:

“Working with my partner on our boat means we promote each other’s safety when we are out fishing. My family and I are really close, we all live within 5 minutes of each other. I sadly lost my dad 2 years ago so getting home safe to my mam and the rest of the family is what keeps me focused at sea.”

The Fishing Industry Safety Group (FISG), is a group of fishing industry organisations, charities, public bodies, and regulators with a mission of improving the safety of commercial fishing at sea. The group launched the Home and Dry campaign in 2020 to share information and advice on safety at sea.

Simon Potten, Head of Safety and Training at Seafish and a member of the Fishing Industry Safety Group, says:

“The people in our fishing industry go out to sea to bring food to our plates and they should always get home again to their families and communities. Home and Dry is about reminding those who go out to sea to do everything they can to stay safe. Some of those safety actions are done before getting on the boat such as regular training and safety drills. Others happen at sea like constantly assessing the risks and wearing a PFD (Personal Flotation Device) with a PLB (Personal Locator Beacons) if the worst happens and they fall overboard.

“We are focusing our efforts on the Under 10 metre fleet this time around as they are often alone so there isn’t always someone there to help if something goes wrong. The Home and Dry campaign is a resource for anyone who works on a commercial fishing vessel but we would really encourage those on smaller vessels to take notice and think about what they could do differently next time they go out to sea.”

The website has information and advice on staying safe at sea. It includes safety hints and tips from those who work on fishing vessels.

The latest Home and Dry campaign will feature across the campaign’s social media channels:

Home and Dry Facebook

Home and Dry Instagram

Source: Press Release

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