Fishermen in Bridlington are being urged to stay safe during the most dangerous month of the year.
According RNLI research, more fishermen die in the UK in January than at any other time of the year. The lifesaving charity has launched a hard-hitting campaign to get fishermen to make sure their boats keep them safe at sea.
It will start with posters which will go up in Bridlington warning of the dangers, together with five short films giving practical advice covering how to keep fishing boats stable, highlight factors that lead to dangerous instability and possible capsize.
They include overloading, watertight integrity, modifications and hauling.
The RNLI research showed that 59% of deaths in the commercial fishing industry happened when a vessel becomes unstable to capsize, leaking or swamping between 2010 and 2013, with 30% of deaths occurring in the month of January when seas can be rough and water temperatures are at their lowest. The campaign is targeted at fishermen who work on vessels under 15m in length, as 73% of fatal accidents were in this category.
Steve Cowman, chairman of the Bridlington and Flamborough Fishermen’s Association, said that applied to all but two of Bridlington’s 40 or so strong fishing fleet. “January can be a bad month but if the weather is really bad we don’t go out. However, things can change quickly at sea and we think about it all year round. Fortunately for Bridlington the fleet has had no fatalities in recent years.”
Bridlington RNLI lifeboiat Coxswain Stuart Tibbett, a former fisherman, said: ‘Commercial fishing is a demanding and dangerous occupation, especially during the winter when conditions at sea can be atrocious. But I know how easy it is to get complacent with boat safety checks and it can be very tempting to cut corners to maximise a haul. ‘As a lifeboat volunteer, I’ve seen what can happen when safety isn’t prioritised – the results can be fatal. So I’m hoping all fishermen will have a look at these films which can be viewerd at RNLI.org/stability.”
Posters using the words ‘Dad’s gone fishing’ with the image of a line of coast hooks in a family home show coats of mum and two young children but dad’s coat is missing, he’s failed to return home from fishing. They will be displayed around Bridlington between Monday 5 January and Monday 2 February.
They will also appear on Facebook posts targeted at fishermen and their families and friends, in commercial fishing publications and websites.
Drinks glasses, coasters and coffee mugs have been produced for the campaign and will be distributed to pubs and bars across the UK.