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More Fishermen Die in January than Any Other Month of the Year, Say RNLI

6th January 2015
More Fishermen Die in January than Any Other Month of the Year, Say RNLI

#rnli – As Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) research reveals more fishermen die in January than in any other month of the year, the lifesaving charity has launched a hard-hitting campaign encouraging fishermen to make sure their boats keep them safe at sea – with an emotive advert due to be displayed around the town of Kilkeel.

The campaign features five short films which provide practical advice and use easy to follow animation. The films show how to keep fishing boats stable and highlight factors that lead to dangerous instability, with RNLI research showing that the majority of deaths in the commercial fishing industry occur when vessel stability is lost.

RNLI figures show that 59% of commercial fishing fatalities were due to a loss of vessel stability leading to capsize, leaking or swamping between 2010 and 2013 – with 30% of deaths occurring in the month of January when seas can be rough and water temperatures are at their lowest. The campaign is targeted at fishermen who work on vessels under 15m in length, as the majority of fishing-related fatal incidents (73%) occurred on fishing boats in this category.

The films cover five key areas that lead to boat instability: overloading, watertight integrity, free surface effect2, modifications and hauling.

The films, which are all under 10 minutes in length, feature experts Peter Duncan, lecturer from the Scottish Maritime Academy, and RNLI Fishing Safety Manager and former commercial fisherman Frankie Horne. They can be viewed at RNLI.org/stability.

Alexander McCauley volunteer lifeboat crew member from Kilkeel RNLI lifeboat station, who is also a commercial fisherman, said: 'I know just how demanding and dangerous commercial fishing can be, especially in rough conditions throughout the winter months. I'd encourage all fishermen to take a look at these films at RNLI.org/stability. They provide excellent, practical advice in an easy to digest format.

'It's easy to get complacent with boat safety checks and it can be very tempting to cut corners to maximise a haul. But these films highlight just how easily you can compromise your boat's stability by doing this, and the consequences can be fatal.'

Emotive adverts are also being used throughout the campaign, using the strapline 'Dad's gone fishing'. The powerful image used in the adverts shows coat hooks in a family home. The coats of mum and two young children are hanging up, but dad's coat is missing – he's failed to return home from fishing.

This advert will be displayed on an ad van driving around Kilkeel in early January. The hard-hitting advert will also appear on Facebook posts targeted at fishermen and their families and friends, in commercial fishing publications and websites.

In addition to the adverts, drinks glasses, coasters and coffee mugs have been produced to support the campaign and will be distributed to pubs and bars at fishing ports across the UK and the Republic of Ireland in January. These products feature key safety tips and point fishermen to the vessel stability films online at RNLI.org/stability.

Frankie Horne, RNLI Fishing Safety Manager, said: 'Data3 shows that, tragically, 49 fishermen died between 2009 and 2012 across the UK and Ireland. We hope that this campaign will help prevent further deaths at sea.

'The majority of these fatalities were fishermen working on boats under 15 metres long and 30% of deaths occurred in the month of January, when sea conditions are often very rough and the water temperature is dangerously low.'

The films offer tips and guidance on areas including:
Leaks, overloading and the free surface effect2 of a loose catch can all make a vessel unstable.
Keep your boat watertight by checking hatches are closed at sea.
Tie down loose kit and keep scuppers clear.
When modifying a fishing boat, get professional advice on stability first.
Cut the net if hauling in a heavy catch makes your boat list.

'I would also like to remind fishermen of the importance of wearing a personal floatation device. Our figures show that of all commercial fishing fatalities between 2010 and 2013, 59% of those who died were not wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid,' added Frankie Horne.

Between 2009 and 2013, RNLI lifeboats launched 2,555 times to incidents involving commercial fishing boats, rescuing 3,762 people.

1 RNLI-commissioned causal analysis of fatalities in waters around the UK and Republic of Ireland between the period 2010 and 2013.

2 Definition of free surface effect In a partly filled tank or fish hold, the contents will shift with the movement of the boat. This 'free surface' effect increases the danger of capsizing. The centre of gravity moves over to the side, making the vessel less stable.

3 Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) and Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) data 2009–12.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.

FAQs

While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset

 

While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

© Afloat 2020

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