More than 80 people have been injured or killed in accidents involving deck machinery on fishing vessels in the last five years.
Fishermen in the North of England are being urged to stay safe by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), after figures revealed the number of people injured of killed in UK waters.
RNLI lifeboats in the North of England were required to launch 66 times to commercial fishing-related incidents last year, rescuing 113 people and saving four lives.
As well as encouraging skippers and vessel owners to apply for funding through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) to help replace older, more dangerous deck machinery on their boats, the RNLI is encouraging fishermen to take extra care on deck – with a new safety video being released in partnership with Seafish.
Data released by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) shows that four fishermen tragically lost their lives in deck machinery incidents from 1 January 2011 to 10 November 2015, with a further 84 injuries being suffered by commercial fishing crew.
Frankie Horne, RNLI Fishing Safety Manager, said: "‘Commercial fishing can be demanding and dangerous, especially in rough conditions throughout the winter months. All fishing crew should be fully trained on the equipment they are using and regular risk assessments should be carried out to spot hazards and dangers on deck.
"This new safety video is approximately six minutes long and features interviews with a range of fishing safety experts and victims of deck machinery accidents."
Jamie Griffin, former fisherman from the Isle of Man, was the victim of a serious deck machinery incident in 2013 when he lost his arm after becoming tangled in a winch while operating the drum end. Jamie’s hard-hitting story is featured in the new safety video.
He said: "The day of the accident was just like any other day’s fishing, until somehow I got tangled in the winch. I tried to free myself, but I couldn’t. As a result, I lost my left arm and seriously damaged the other. I also suffered eight broken ribs and a punctured lung.
"Deck machinery can be really dangerous, especially older equipment. Extra care should be taken while operating it and I’d encourage all fishermen to watch this new safety film."
Deck machinery incidents are believed to be significantly underreported, meaning it is highly likely that many more than 84 injuries have been suffered over the past five years.
Steve Clinch, chief inspector of marine accidents at the MAIB, says: "Year after year, the MAIB receives numerous reports of fishermen suffering crush injuries, amputations and even death as the result of accidents involving deck machinery on fishing boats.
"Sadly, in almost all cases, accidents which occur when operating deck machinery are avoidable if fishermen undertake some basic training and adopt safe working practices. I would therefore recommend this awareness video to all fishermen, but especially skippers.
"Any fishermen going to sea should always take the time to consider carefully the potential risks of any hauling or shooting operation and take all necessary measures to protect everyone on board. Too many limbs, livelihoods and lives have been lost because fishermen have taken unnecessary risks."
The EMFF grant funding to replace older, more dangerous deck machinery became available for fishermen across the UK to apply for today.
To view the safety video, and to find out more about how to apply for an EMFF grant, visit: RNLI.org/DeckMachinery
In 2015, RNLI lifeboat crews across the UK and Ireland launched to 470 commercial fishing-related incidents, rescuing 751 people and saving nine lives.