Leading Journal of the Irish & UK Fishing Industries

Seafish and the RNLI have announced dates for 10 further Man Overboard (MOB) Awareness events for UK commercial fishermen.

The events are taking place at venues across the UK in October, November, and December, with the final sessions taking place in February 2023. Booking is now open for the following locations and dates:

  • Cork: 9 October and 6 November
  • Aberdeen: 18, 19 and 20 November
  • Lowestoft: 30 November, 1 and 2 December
  • Fleetwood: 10 and 11 February

Created by the Fishing Industry Safety Group (FISG), the events are organised by Seafish, delivered by the RNLI and funded by Trinity House and the Maritime & Coastguard Agency.

At present, commercial fishermen can attend these voluntary events free-of-charge, with all travel, subsistence and accommodation costs reimbursed, plus a £200 training grant provided. However, these are likely to be the last events delivered under the current funding. It is hoped that more events will take place in future, but the funding rules may change.

MOB Awareness events enable commercial fishermen to experience what going overboard might be like. This is done using special environmental pools with rain, wind and wave machines that make the experience as realistic as possible.

The purpose is to help fishermen understand why they need to do everything they can to prevent anyone falling overboard from their vessel. It also stresses the importance of wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) when working on deck and reinforces the need for fishermen to undertake regular MOB safety and recovery drills.

Fisherman Nigel Scourfield from Dorset attended a Man Overboard Awareness event earlier this year. Commenting on his experience, he said:

“It was an excellent course that was interesting and informative and provided a realistic in the water Man Overboard simulation.

“I think that enabling as many fishermen as possible to be able to experience the difference between immersion with and without a PFD is key to changing attitudes towards wearing them at sea.”

The MOB Awareness events are always popular and often fully booked. Anyone interested is advised to book quickly to avoid missing out.

Simon Potten, Head of Safety and Training at Seafish, said:

“The response we have had from the 335 fishermen who have attended previous events has been amazing. Without exception, the experience has made everyone more safety conscious and understanding of why they need to wear a PFD. Ten fishermen lost their lives last year, many as a result of falling or being dragged overboard, so I cannot stress enough how important these events are.

“Although this is the last wave of events we can deliver under the current round of funding, we hope the fishing industry will want to see them continue. However, I would urge anyone interested to sign up now, as any future events may not be so generously funded.”

To book a place at an event, email the Fishermen’s Training team at Seafish at training@seafish.co.uk  or call Katie Hooper on 07966 764151 or Lee Haigh on 07904 660484.

More information about the events is available at www.seafish.org/MOBAwarenessEvents