In a bid to save lives in one of the most dangerous professions in the UK, fishermen in Cornwall are being urged to apply for essential lifejackets that have locator beacons to aid their rescue in an emergency situation.
The scheme was initiated by Cornwall Councillor Armand Toms at a Cornwall Council meeting in November 2017 and has led to a partnership with Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Fisheries Local Action Group and Seafarers UK charity for them to implement the life-saving initiative.
Cllr Toms said: “The reason I submitted the motion was to ensure that local fishermen who would struggle financially to buy one of these potentially lifesaving pieces of equipment could be assisted by the council.
“The aim is to save lives, as each year fishermen die in incidents that can be avoided with early warning that they are in trouble.”
“I’m really pleased that the new devices are on order and that our fisherman will soon be much safer on our waters. I’d urge as many as possible to apply for the new lifejackets with the lifesaving beacon.”
Cornwall Council portfolio holder for Environment and Public Protection Rob Nolan said: “Currently around 50 per cent of overboard incidents lead to death so the use of the new devices, alongside the training that will be provided to the fisherman in order to use them correctly will dramatically reduce this worrying statistic.
“As this week is Maritime Safety Week it’s a good opportunity for people to consider their safety while at sea and order one of the devices.”
The training will be delivered by the Seafood Cornwall Training (SCT) based in Newlyn. SCT Safety Adviser Clive Palfrey said: “It is essential that fishermen understand how to fit, maintain and wear this equipment. The training we provide at ports across Cornwall will include information on how to service the devices and how to carry out a crew safety review.”
In order to be eligible for the scheme fishermen will have to reside in Cornwall and land their catch in Cornwall, Isles of Scilly or Plymouth. The scheme is open to full or part-time commercial fishermen and they will be required to attend a training session.
The total cost of the scheme which includes 200 lifejackets is £96,000 and has been joint funded by Seafarers UK and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. The cost of each lifejacket is £300 however those who are eligible will only have to pay £30.
To apply for one of the devices you can call 01736 364324 or download a form off the Seafood Cornwall Training website.