Fishermen urged to make use of funding

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The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation claims data on accidents at sea underlines why fishermen must take advantage of safety training funds such as those available at Eyemouth.

According to a Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) report, eight fishermen lost their lives in 2014, compared with four in 2013. The average number of fishermen lost over the last decade is 8.5 per year.

Derek Cardno, SFF safety and training officer, said: “The fact that over eight fishermen have lost their lives on average every year in the last 10 should spur us all into action. At the moment Seafish has in place a training fund for UK fishermen who hold their mandatory certificates. Seafish will consider providing funding for any course that a fisherman feels will improve his or her fishing safety awareness or knowledge of the workings of a fishing vessel.”

The training fund offers provision for up to £1,500, which can be drawn down in a lump if studying for a certificate of competency or drawn down piecemeal when studying for short courses like ECDIS, MCA Approved Engine Course, Medical First Aid at Sea, Advanced Fire-fighting or General Operators certificate in the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) to name a few.

“If we study the statistics in the MAIB report we can see that 10 of the vessel losses were due to capsizing, foundering or flooding,” added Mr Cardno. “Maintaining vessel stability is recognised as a problem area that the RNLI fishing safety team has been promoting in its ‘Keep it Stable, Bring it Home’ campaign. Seafish also has a very good voluntary short course on stability. This course along with a whole suite of other training opportunities are delivered by Seafish-approved training providers.

“As an industry we need to look again at the MAIB’s annual report and improve. The funding in place that is administered by Seafish provides UK fishermen with a fantastic opportunity to advance their knowledge and skills and I would encourage fishermen to use the fund.”

For details of Eyemouth courses, contact David Gilchrist on 01890 751344, 07856 023172 or at sosstatraining@aol.com.