Campaign to keep fishermen safe at sea

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FISHERMEN working out of an East Coast port are being targeted in a new RNLI safety campaign, as research shows January is the deadliest month of the year.

An emotive advert will be displayed in the town and other fishing communities in Weymouth, Dorset, Newlyn, Cornwall and Kilkeel, Northern Ireland, pointing out that over half of commercial fishing deaths (59 per cent) are down to a loss of a boat’s stability, leading to capsize, leaking or swamping.

Between 2009 and 2012 49 fishermen died at sea across the UK and Ireland, and nearly three-quarters of fatalities involved boats under 15m in length.

Over half of those who died were not wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid.

January is a particularly dangerous month, with rough seas and low water temperatures.

Five short films, released as part of the campaign, which begins on January 5, show how to keep boats stable.

Former fisherman and coxswain of the town’s lifeboat Stuart Tibbett said: “Commercial fishing is a demanding and dangerous occupation, especially during the winter when conditions at sea can be atrocious. But I know how easy it is to get complacent with boat safety checks and it can be very tempting to cut corners to maximise a haul.

“As a lifeboat volunteer, I’ve seen what can happen when safety isn’t prioritised – the results can be fatal. “

Mr Tibbett urged fishermen to look at the films at RNLI.org/stability. He said: “They provide great, practical advice in an easy to digest format and hopefully will prevent more tragedies in the fishing community.”