Flares training has been a key part of a safe fishing event for commercial fishermen in the United States.
Key takeaways from the free Fisherman’s Terminal event held by the Port of Seattle included:
- Getting the right flares for your boat
- Making sure everyone on board knows where the flares are stored.
Flares can save your life
The fishermen were told, “In an emergency situation, flares can save your life. But they’re of no use if they’re improperly deployed or stored. At this safety station, we learn about different types of flares, the best flares to use for specific situations, and proper flare handling and disposal.”
The event also included advice on what to do during a man overboard incident, plugging leaks quickly, fire safety and immersion suit training.
The fishing season is currently underway for the North Pacific Fleet based out of Fishermen’s Terminal. From mid-June to September the fleet fish the waters off the coast of Alaska for salmon, halibut, black cod, and also other species.
The fishers spent most of May and early June preparing their boats, provisioning, mending nets, and also brushing up on safety best practices.
Commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. Fishers often endure hazardous working conditions, strenuous labour, long and irregular work hours, as well as harsh weather.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) maintains the Commercial Fishing Incident Database (CFID), and a review of data from 2000-2015 revealed that 725 commercial fishermen died while on the job. Most fatalities occurred after a vessel disaster, and the second leading cause of death was falling overboard.
The Seattle-based Fishermen’s Memorial organisation aims to prevent accidental fisher deaths. This includes organising the annual Fishermen’s Memorial Safety Fair. The event is arranged by multiple industry partners, including the U.S. Coast Guard, Discovery Health MD, MITAGS, Emerald Marine, and also North Pacific Fishing Vessel Owners’ Association.