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Seafish Set Out to Save Lives at Sea

by the Fish Site Editor
26 March 2009, at 12:00am

UK - East Coast fishermen have been chosen as the first in the UK to receive a free damage control kit and special training in how to save their boat and their lives if they start taking on water.


Damage Control Course:
Keir Day and Gregg Philpott shake hands

Twenty five skippers will attend the pioneering damage control course yesterday (24 March) at the Royal Yorkshire Yacht Club in Bridlington. The course is being run by Seafish, the seafood industry authority, in conjunction with Yorkshire and Humber Fishermen’s Training Association.

The course designer, Seafish Training Advisor Keir Day, has first-hand experience of the dangers facing fishermen when a vessel begins to flood.

As an ex skipper he had to save his boat and his crew when a plank gave way and water started to pour in. Thanks to damage control training he had previously received in the Royal Navy he had the knowledge, the tools and materials on board to save the vessel.

In his training role with Seafish, Keir has now developed the damage control kit and training programme to ensure that other skippers can deal with a flooding emergency.

The Seafish course involves learning about the importance of regular vessel maintenance and the key steps that should be taken when fishing vessels start taking on water.

The damage control kit contains key tools including a waterproof flashlight, an axe and saw to cut wood and chop wedges, a screwdriver and a lump hammer to drive in wedges. Also included are stainless steel hose clamps, wooden wedges, twine, cable ties and a tarpaulin for fothering (blocking a hole from the outside of the vessel). Some items need to be added by the fishermen such as tapered wooden plugs and a valve wheel extension as they are unique to each vessel. Ancillary items include duct tape, epoxy sealant and grease tape all housed in a large watertight box and clearly labeled ‘Damage Control’.

Keir said: “Flooding onboard vessels is a big issue. Statistics released by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) in 2009 show that 52 per cent of all fishing vessel losses, as well as many onboard incidents, are caused by flooding. Many of these accidents occur on vessels under 12m. However, little is taught to fishermen on how to actually help prevent them from sinking once water has started to enter their vessel.”

the Fish Site Editor