Fishermens Life Jacket Test

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2nd November 2007, 14:13
UK. Fishermen's lifejacket trial results revealed
Thursday, 01 November 2007


The two-year joint RNLI/Seafish lifejacket trial, now published online, gives in-depth results relating to fishermen's views on the wearing of lifejackets and buoyancy aids while working. From the group of fishermen that remained in the trial for over a year a 900 per cent increase was seen in those claiming to wear lifejackets most or all of the time * a potentially lifesaving habit. This result links to the first conclusion of the trial; that different lifejackets suit different types of fishing, and there is not 'one type that fits all' as Ian Benham, RNLI Fishing Safety Manager, explains: 'There is a perception in some quarters that lifejackets are not widely worn due to the attitude to safety held by fishermen. However, this report clearly finds that the main causes of lifejackets not being worn are that some lifejackets are not designed for deck work, and that information on the types and design features of lifejackets is not readily available and so awareness of suitable lifejackets is poor among the fishing community. 'We established that those fishermen who stayed on the trial found a lifejacket that suited them and so were willing to continue for the second year. We were delighted that within this group, the number of fishermen wearing a lifejacket rose by 900 per cent compared to the pre trial figure for fishermen. This is as a direct result of taking part in the trial * a huge achievement. 'This shows that having the relevant information to hand makes a big difference to a fisherman when choosing a lifejacket that is suitable for both his method of fishing and that is comfortable while working on deck. After all no fisherman is going to pay out hard earned cash for a lifejacket that is unsuitable or uncomfortable, and both these aspects were specifically tested.

'The full report is available on the RNLI's website, but we have also produced two leaflets for potting and trawler crews which are available free of charge from fishingsafety@rnli.org.uk or by phone on 01202 663142.

I encourage all fishermen to take a little time to read up on our findings, it could help them make a potentially lifesaving decision * to buy and wear a lifejacket.' Tony Tait, Seafish Marine Services Manager, says: 'We had no hesitation in joining the RNLI to carry out this trial as it is important to understand why fishermen seem to be to reticent about actually wearing lifejackets. 'Some of the detailed findings such as toggles being identified as a snagging hazard or horseshoe-style jackets rubbing the neck really go some way to helping with the choice fishermen are faced with when buying a lifejacket. The results are interesting and definitely worth a look, and I'm sure they will help inform future research work in this area.'