The PFDs are lightweight, easy to wear and provide protection without impeding movement. Earlier this year funding was also secured for 710 PFD’s which were distributed to local fishermen through a series of organised safety events in Ardglass, Kilkeel, Portavogie and Cushendall.
The Minister said: “I am delighted with the success of this project. Indeed since I launched our initial investment earlier on in the year they have already gone on to save the life of a local fisherman, whose boat sank off the County Down coast.
“Due to the need to provide further devices I have secured funding from the European Fisheries Fund which will provide a further 345 devices and will see the total funding to support this project rise to almost £80,000.”
Minister O’Neill continued: “This is good news for the fishing community and although there has been a strong uptake from fishermen there are still some who have not come forward to be supplied with a Personal Floatation Device. It is critical that all fishermen do not miss this opportunity. Over the coming months the Fishermen’s Mission, with the support of my department, will be organising a number of distribution and training events for fishermen to avail of these lifesaving devices.”
The Minister concluded by saying: “My officials are currently working to ensure further funding wilbe available to provide Personal Floatation Devices for the aquaculture industry.”