Category Archive: Safety

SAFE BOAT: Abandoning ship – A step-by-step approach

Even for the most self-sufficient fishing vessel, the possibility of a disabling mishap at sea due to a storm, grounding, collision, mechanical failure, or some other cause is a fact of nautical life.  Your safety and that of your crew depends on your ability to plan for and manage the problems you come against in …

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FISH SAFE – Winch safety study identifies emergency shutoffs

In the January 2014 CFN, we discussed the hazards associated with winch level-winding operations on trawlers based on our ongoing Northeast Drum Winch Safety Improvement Study.  This time, we’ll look at what we have learned about drum winch emergency shutoffs. To recap, we collected data for the study on 54 vessels from Gloucester, New Bedford, …

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Safe Boat – Smart Boat: PFDs, grappling with fishing’s ‘safety culture’

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by Fred Mattera –  During safety training sessions in December and January each year, I break out the “Cold Water Boot Camp USA” DVD.  It’s a great tool for reviewing coldwater safety with fishermen now that the water temperature is a frigid 45°F or less. In the video, selected volunteers agree to immerse themselves in …

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FISH SAFE – Winch safety study identifies crew hazards

by Ann Backus – Jan. 27 will mark five years since 53-year-old Bill Meldrum died off the coast of New Jersey aboard the 65′ Lydia J after being pulled into his vessel’s rotating drum winch.  After that incident, I was determined that no one else would suffer that kind of death.  In 2012, my colleagues …

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Safe Boat – Smart Boat — Station bills: Know your job in an emergency

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by Fred Mattera – During a recent simulated engine room fire drill, I observed a seasoned crewman, someone who has been engaged in safety drills for the last sev en years, become impetuous and anxious instead of composed and thoughtful. By doing things without serious thought, he made some simple but dangerous mistakes that, in …

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FISH SAFE – Lady Mary report offers sobering lessons

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by Ann Backus – It’s been nearly four-and-a-half years since the March 24, 2009 sinking of the Cape May, NJ-based Lady Mary and the loss of six of her seven crewmen.  That’s a long time for everyone touched by this tragedy. But, on Aug. 30, the Coast Guard released the final report on its investigation …

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SAFE BOAT – SMART BOAT — Inspection, maintenance: Follow a schedule

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by Fred Mattera – It is the responsibility of the captain and crew to inspect and maintain all vessel systems constantly.  For me, a checklist was my means of tracking the maintenance schedule, so I’ve made one here to get you started. Since I no longer have a vessel to walk through and refresh my …

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FISH SAFE: Take steps to avoid accidental EPIRB activations

by Ann Backus – Whether you fish commercially for lobsters, scallops, groundfish, or other species, you probably own an Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB).  These instruments are vital for helping the Coast Guard locate you and/or your vessel in times of distress.  Both vessel and personal EPIRBs are now available at a reasonable cost. …

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Safe Boat – Smart Boat: Electrical systems – Batteries, cables, safety

by Fred Mattera – Batteries are an integral power source on fishing vessels.  They provide power to the vast majority of our pilothouse electronics and are a power source for alarms and startup and shutdown systems for main engines and gensets. Be sure to install batteries so they are capable of withstanding vessel roll, pitch, …

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FISH SAFE – Follow mariner’s ‘three rules’ to avoid storms

by Ann Backus – Early in June, Andrea, the first tropical storm of the season, slammed into Florida and then proceeded up the East Coast into New England.  She won’t be the last.  Hurricane season is now in full swing. Regardless of what the weather is when you leave port, be prepared to deal with …

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