Namely, fishing comes first as the most fatal industry by far. Fishing industry is followed by the waste/recycling industry, agriculture and construction. However, as the image below shows, the difference is vast.

To prevent more fatalities from happening, HM Coast Guard released a safety guide. This guide wants to prepare crews and vessels, on what to do in an emergency and before sail.


Namely, a fishing vessel is a dangerous place, even for the experienced fisherman. Seafarers should not be over confident or careless, or take unnecessary risks. In addition, vigilance is proposed for sudden vessel movements, as well as familiarity with the vessel's drills and risk assessments. More specifically, the following series of questions help ensure that everyone safe on board a fishing vessel:

  • Does everyone have suitable clothing and footwear for the job they do?
  • Is everyone able to move round the vessel safely in any weather?
  • Are the Freeing Ports obstructed?
  • Is there a free flow of air into and out of the crew accommodation?
  • Have you made modifications to the vessel?
  • Is the equipment you work with suitable for use?
  • Is the lifting equipment you work with sufficiently strong?

In case of emergency, all persons on board have to react effectively, without panic. Whilst it is expected that all persons will have completed basic training in survival, first aid and fire fighting, it is also essential that regular training and practice takes place to ensure that the crew can react properly in various situations.

In addition, on every vessel, everyone should know what they should do and the equipment to use to cope with various types of emergency. As it is often too late to ask questions when an emergency has happened, the following must be conducted beforehand:

  • Situations need to be discussed and courses of action planned.
  • Equipment may need to be obtained and located where it will be to hand if required.
  • The layout of each vessel and fishing methods used will impose particular problems and it is essential that solutions are found before facing these problems in a real emergency.

Furthermore, while at sea there is a series of issues that have to be checked in order to assure the safe operation of the ship. This includes amongst others enclosed space; fire; galley; GMDSS; flooding; and machinery.

What is more, the stability of the vessel must be sound. Two of the main reasons why a ship's stability may be compromised are:

  • The centre-of-gravity is too high, making the vessel too heavy;
  • There is insufficient freeboard due to overloading.

Crewmembers, must keep an eye on these, in order to make sure that their ship will sail without problems.

You can learn more information on how to ensure safe operation on fishing vessels, in the PDF below