In response to the recent MCIB report on a fatal incident involving a fishing vessel in Galway Bay in November 2017, the latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) related to the safety of small vessels engaged in pot fishing.
The notice is directed at users of vessels less than 15m in length:
- Those engaged in non-commercial potting are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the Code of Practice for the Safe Operation of Recreational Craft and to comply with the statutory requirements highlighted by the Code, and heed the safety advice and recommendations of the Code.
- Those engaged in commercial potting should comply with the Code of Practice for the Design, Construction, Equipment and Operation of Small Fishing Vessels of less than 15m length overall. The Code sets out requirements and recommendations relating to safety on board small fishing vessels.
In addition, the DTTAS reminds users of small vessels that:
- Suitable personal flotation devices (PFDs) and personal locator beacons (PLBs) should always be worn.
- Somebody ashore should be aware of where the boat is intending to operate and when it is expected to return.
- Vessels should have a suitable means of re-boarding in the event of a crew member falling overboard.
The DTTAS said it wishes to highlight the increased risks involved with single-person operation of such vessels.
Owners/skippers should carry out a risk assessment of the intended operations and take appropriate actions to reduce and/or mitigate the inherent risks that arise when nobody else is on board to render assistance or to raise the alarm.