RNLI training for Welsh fishermen receiving safety kit thanks to new funding
RNLI personnel have this week begun delivering specialist training to Welsh fishermen on behalf of the Welsh Fishing Safety Committee to ensure they can safely operate new Personal Floating Devices with in-built Personal Location Beacons.
The new kit has been made available thanks to a safety initiative from an industry forum of Fishermen’s Associations in Wales.
The Welsh Fishing Safety Committee, supported by Seafish, the public body that supports the £10bn UK seafood industry, offered owners of active Welsh-registered commercial fishing vessel state of the art kit at a subsidised cost of £15 each – saving £300 on the normal RRP. The scheme opened in April and over 80% of the entire fishing fleet have taken up the offer.
The RNLI has worked closely with the manufacturer Mullion to devise a safety training package to ensure the kit is properly used.
Seafish has organised a series of events for fishermen around the coast of Wales over the next two weeks to ensure they can pick up their kit and have the necessary training to ensure it is used effectively. The events started on Monday in Plas Heli, Pwllheli and will run in Holyhead, Rhyl, Swansea, Aberystwyth, Burry Port, Fishguard and Milford to ensure fishermen around the coast to ensure easy access to each venue.
The RNLI will offer a presentation and safety briefings and information on servicing to encourage long-term use of the equipment.
Frankie Horne, RNLI Fishing Safety Manager will be on hand to offer the training.
‘Research has shown us that fishermen are 100 times more likely to suffer a fatal injury compared to the rest of the UK workforce. Between 2006 – 2017, there were 97 fatalities in UK waters and 62 of these were classed as man overboard. In Wales, 12 crew of UK registered fishing vessels lost their lives either in port or at sea between 2006 – 2015.
‘Whilst the RNLI is encouraged that 80% of Welsh fishing fleet will receive this lifesaving kit, lifejackets and Personal Floatation Devices really are useless unless worn, if worn incorrectly or if not in full working order. Part of our role will be to encourage behaviour change and encourage fishermen not only to wear the kit but to do so correctly.’
Earlier this year, fishermen from across the UK and Ireland took part in an event at the RNLI College in Dorset where a series of exercises were run in the lifesaving charity’s sea survival pool to improve survival techniques and recovery procedures.
The event put the fishermen through a variety of different scenarios, allowing them to experience a taste of cold water shock in a safe and controlled environment. The participants were able to compare the differences of being in the water with and without floatation devices and wearing their normal fishing clothing. They also practiced recovering a man overboard during the event.
Mr Horne added: ‘We will show this video as part of our presentation which shows fishermen exactly what it would be like to fall overboard. Using our sea survival pool meant the fishermen experienced the same cold water temperatures that they could face if they really fell overboard at sea.
‘In giving these fishermen a taste of the potentially deadly impact that cold water shock can have in debilitating the body, we hope that they’ll be more likely to wear their personal floatation devices at sea to increase their chance of survival if they do fall overboard.
‘The fishermen were able to see just how vital personal floatation devices are, enabling them to stay afloat and alive in the sea long enough for a rescue to take place.’
Owners of active Welsh-registered commercial fishing vessels can still apply for the grant-aided PFD with integrated PLB by visiting the Seafish website and downloading an application form. Forms can also be requested directly from Seafish by calling 0131 524 8602 or 01792 793400.
The initiative was supported from funding received from the Welsh Government and from Seafarers UK, a charity that has been helping people in the maritime community for 100 years.
RNLI Media Contacts
For further information about the RNLI training, please contact Danielle Rush, RNLI Media Relations Manager in Wales on 07786 668829 or Danielle_rush@rnli.org.uk
Seafish Press office contact
Emma Lingard, 01472 252351, Emma.Lingard@seafish.co.uk
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.