How is Massachusetts Preparing Fishermen for Emergencies?
When commercial fishermen are out at sea, they only have their crew and experience to rely upon in an emergent situation. In these cases, good instincts and prior practice can turn the tides on potentially dangerous situations. That’s why Fishing Partnership Support Services was founded in Massachusetts, where New England has some of the most dangerous waters in the country.
Safety training is not something that should be taken lightly. It’s a desperately needed skillset that can be life-saving for all fishermen and crew members. The Partnership regularly hosts free safety and survival training that help show fishermen how to respond in emergency situations, including:
- Pump and flooding operations
- How to use survival suits
- Man-overboard procedures
- What to do in the event of a fire
- How to operate emergency communications
- How to use flares and EPIRBs
- How to use life raft equipment
- Helicopter hoist procedures
- How to use a basic first aid kit
The Partnership began soon after a tragic scalloper accident. The vessel sank and all but one crewmember survived. As it turned out, that survivor was the only crewmember that had training. This inspired six crewmen to begin a training program to make sure all fishermen are given the resources to stay safe. The program has had more than 3,000 fishermen participate and includes hands-on survival training from instructors who have experience in either the Coast Guard or as fishermen themselves.
More States Need to Offer and Promote These Types of Training Program
The commercial fishing industry has long held a bad reputation as a hazardous occupation. That said, states need to make safety and training a priority. Accidents at sea can happen very suddenly and without warning. Fishermen must be adequately prepared to handle any type of unexpected emergency at sea. While some training is mandated by law and minimal training courses are provided, more programs like the Partnership need to be accessible so that all fishermen nationwide are prepared for anything while at sea.