Fishermen get lesson in staying safe at South Shields Marine School
South Shields Marine School hosted fishermen safety sessions to show the dangers of not wearing a life jacket.
The maritime survival centre hosted three days of new-style instruction to emphasise to trawlermen the danger of setting sail without a life jacket.
Experts highlighted how unsafe it is to set sail without wearing a life jacket. They entered the 4m-deep storm-configured pool in only their usual at-sea protective boots and waterproofs.
Most of the participants lasted just under a minute before the weight of water began pulling them under, compelling them to grab life floats placed by safety lifeguards swimming close by.
They then repeated the exercise wearing a life acket and safety clothing, which showed them just how important wearing a life jacket at sea is.
Michael Speers, MOST’s Head of School, said: “We are so committed to supporting this important training that we have provided our fantastic facilities without charge.
“Safety among fishermen has traditionally been poorly regulated, which has contributed to deaths which could likely have been avoided had better procedures been in place.
“It is very important to the fishing industry that safety is tightened and that those working in it have a very clear understanding of how their lives can be saved by the simple act of wearing a life jacket.
“Our first-class facilities are perfect for very powerfully showing fishermen just how much better their chances of survival are if they wear a life jacket while at sea.”
Katie Hooper, training adviser with Grimsby-based Seafish, said the Maritime and Coastguard Agency-funded (MCA) programme was potentially an industry game changer.
She added: “I think attitudes among the country’s 1,200 trawlermen are changing, and this training programme is playing a critical role.
“Feedback is usually very positive, with many participants telling how shocked they at realising how short a time they are in the water before they start struggling.
“Even those who are fit will last little more than a minute if they do not have life jacket.
“The course is important to showing them the very real dangers they face and how that risk can be minimised.”