Aquaculture for all

Personal Flotation Device Handout at Withernsea

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UK - The Yorkshire and Humber Fishermens Training Association (YHFTA) is calling on local commercial fisherman to think about the importance of safety at sea as it prepares to hand out personal flotation devices (PFDs) at the Fishermens Compound in Withernsea on Friday 12 December.

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YHFTA has been providing safety training for fishermen in Hull and the surrounding areas for over 40 years and very much welcomes this initiative, which is being led by the UK industry authority on seafood, Seafish.

Keir Day, YHFTA Training Instructor and ex-skipper with over 12 years’ experience says: “Fishing is still the most dangerous job in the world and we are very proud to have been able to provide safety training for fishermen that has undoubtedly saved lives and prevented serious accidents.

“We already teach fishermen techniques to survive if they accidentally end up in the sea and stress how important it is for them to wear a buoyancy aid. Thanks to this excellent new initiative we can now also provide them with this new, lightweight PFD which can be worn whilst working at sea.”

Free PFDs are currently available to all existing commercial fishermen. Those yet to partake in the scheme are encouraged to sign up for a device by contacting the YHFTA or popping into their office at 92 Queens Street, Withernsea, ahead of the giveaway on the 12 December.

Fishermen will need to fill out an application, bringing with them photo ID and vessel details.

On Friday 12 December, the YHFTA will be giving a short demonstration on how the lifejacket works and how to both wear and maintain it. This is compulsory for all fisherman who wish to make use of a PFD.

Funding for the PFDs is being provided from the European Fisheries Fund by the Marine Management Organisation, with match funding provided by Seafish and the maritime charity Seafarers UK.

Simon Potten, Head of Safety, Training & Services for Seafish, commented: “It’s great to be engaging with fishermen through their local training centres as building an active dialogue surrounding safety at sea is something we’re very passionate about. We hope to encourage more events like this to take place across the country. It is imperative that the fishing industry does everything it can to promote the use of PFDs as standard practise for the sake of fishermen and their families.”

The initiative supports a wider Fishing Industry Safety Group scheme to persuade more fishermen to wear PFDs when working at sea. YHFTA wants to drive home the importance of PFDs to personal safety, but also ensure fishermen are aware of the extra anguish not taking precautions can cause their loved ones. If the worst case scenario does occur, and a body is not recovered, it can cause numerous problems, including insurance not being paid, complications with bank account closures and difficulties acquiring a death certificate.

Keir Day added: “It is imperative that the fishing industry does everything it can to promote the use of PFDs as standard practise for the sake of fishermen and their families.

“Danger aside, not many people are aware of the pressures that fishermen face in order to make a living. Quota, catch and number of days at sea restrictions as well as bad weather make it impossible for some to commercially fish on a full time basis.

“Sometimes fishermen have to diversify and use their skills in other maritime industries such as the offshore wind farm and oil industries or even eco-tourism to make up their earnings from fishing. These industries require extra training called Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping or ‘STCW’, which we are also providing to help keep our fishermen at sea.”

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