Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fish Safe!

Excerpt from U.S. Coast Guard Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council magazine by Ms. Gina Johansen, Program Manager, Fish Safe BC

“What do you know about fishing?”
Many fishermen live in small fishing communities. They and their neighbors are often fourth-generation fishermen.

At a recent strategic planning session, the first question from the audience to the facilitator (whose only job was to make sure we got through the agenda) was:

“What do you know about fishing?”
If you have an inspection system that does not allow fishermen to use their knowledge of the vessel or have input into what procedures they should have in place, you will undermine their ability to take ownership of a safety program.

So how do we inspire fishermen to incorporate safety aboard? They have to be involved in the development and delivery of education and training programs, and they must be convinced that incorporating safety into their fishing operations will benefit them.

Fish Safe
The Fish Safe BC program uses real fishermen in all aspects of program development and delivery. By providing a forum to discuss safety concerns and work on solutions, regulators are better informed on the realities of fishing, and fishermen provide insight on how to make regulations relevant and effective.

Safest Catch
We recently launched the “Safest Catch” program, which trains fishermen as safety advisors. These advisors provide one- or two-day onboard workshops to their peers, providing tools and direction to the master and crew on how to develop their own safety procedures, emergency drills, and safety equipment orientation.

Pictured: On top, Captain Tim Joys aboard the Sena II takes his crew through an abandon ship drill. On bottom right, Fishermen participate in the stability eduction program. Photos courtesy of Fish Safe.