«

»

Print this Post

SAFE-BOAT SMART-BOAT: Safety on the job…

…raining, orientation essential for inexperienced crew

 

One of the most common concerns and subjects of discussion among commercial fishing vessel owners and captains these days is not about fisheries management regulations.

It’s about the lack of good, experienced crew.

A qualified Coast Guard-approved marine drill instructor, Fred Mattera of Point Judith, RI is the owner/president of North East Safety Training Co. (NESTCo), which conducts fishing vessel drills and inspections and basic safety training workshops.   A commercial fisherman for 40 years, Mattera is a member of the Commercial Fishing Safety Advisory Committee to the Coast Guard, and, since 1998, has been president of the Point Club, a fishing vessel mutual insurance group.  He also has served on the board of directors for Sunderland Marine Mutual Insurance Co., the principal underwriter for the Point Club and more than 2,000 US fishing vessels, since 1998.

A qualified Coast Guard-approved marine drill instructor, Fred Mattera of Point Judith, RI is the owner/president of North East Safety Training Co. (NESTCo), which conducts fishing vessel drills and inspections and basic safety training workshops.
A commercial fisherman for 40 years, Mattera is a member of the Commercial Fishing Safety Advisory Committee to the Coast Guard, and, since 1998, has been president of the Point Club, a fishing vessel mutual insurance group. He also has served on the board of directors for Sunderland Marine Mutual Insurance Co., the principal underwriter for the Point Club and more than 2,000 US fishing vessels, since 1998.

Maybe you know this scenario.  The plan is to meet at midnight at the boat to go fishing.  Then at 11 pm or so you receive the inevitable call from a crewman, “I can’t make this trip.”

So the list of transit crewmen is reviewed and the phone calls begin.

You start out seeking a transit crewman with experience.  But in more and more situations these day an inexperienced crewman (any warm body) will have to suffice.

There was a time where we would not leave the dock without a seasoned, experienced crew.  Today, however, if you come up a man short, it may be days or weeks until an experienced crewman is available.  Consequently, you are forced to take any available crewman willing to work.

The upshot of this is that when conducting a drill onboard, it can quickly become apparent that inexperienced crews may not know the location of their safety equipment, how it functions, and their specific assignments.

Sometimes, captains may assume
the crew’s knowledge and/or simply assign a new crewman to shadow an existing crew member and learn the ropes.

This complacency can pose a problem in times of peril.

A vessel captain or mate must provide the crew with an orientation of all the safety equipment onboard, and go over each individual’s assignment – highlighting safety on the job.

Start by presenting the crew a few simple steps and practices:

•  Follow the chain of command

If you are a new or inexperienced crewman, the captain will inform you what your duties are.  Don’t try to do a job you are not authorized for, athough circumstances may require that you act on your own.  If you feel that you must act outside of your assigned duties, use your best judgment, and inform the captain at the earliest opportunity.

•  Keep awake

Be alert to what is happening on the vessel and to sea conditions.  Familiar jobs can cause you to be lax or inattentive – and lack of attention produces accidents.  Take special care in heavy weather conditions, keep an eye out for your crewmembers as well as yourself, and warn them of threatening waves or other dangers.

•  Keep house

Keep all living and working areas neat and orderly.  Tools and equipment must be properly stowed or secured.  Eliminate tripping hazards.  Discard waste and other debris and don’t let them foul scuppers, drains, and freeing ports.  Leaks and spills should be reported and cleaned immediately.  Bilges and engineroom surfaces should be kept clean.  Passageways must be kept clear.  Lines and ropes must be coiled and stowed.  Clothing, foul weather gear, boots, gloves, etc. must all be kept in their proper places.

•  Hand tools

Use the right hand tools for the job, keep them clean and stow them when you are done.  Keep all cutting tools sharp and make use of all guards to protect hands from the blade.  Open-bladed knives, gaffs, boat hooks, and other sharp or pointed objects should be safely stowed when not in use.  If you are working aloft, or near a deck opening, don’t leave tools lying loose.  Place them in a tool bag or five gallon bucket to prevent injuries to a crewman below.  Use a line to lower tools from aloft.  Don’t use a tool that is obviously defective – report it.  Don’t use a tool on moving machinery.  Remember to remove all tools before restarting an engine that has been serviced.

•  Protective clothing

Always be aware of the hazards posed by wearing loose clothing (such as, exposed strings from hooded sweatshirts) during the operation of winches and any other moving machinery.  You are expected to use all protective clothing called for in the vessel’s operations.  Such clothing may include work suits (overalls) personal floatation devices (PFDs), gloves, steel-toed shoes, hard hats, boots, foul weather gear, ear and eye protection, etc.  If you are working around revolving and moving equipment and you have long hair, tie it up or wear a hat and don’t wear rings or jewelry.

Footwear should be in good condition, with non-slip soles, boots large enough to slip your foot out quickly if it becomes entangled.  Gloves should be appropriate for the hazards the wearer may encounter.  Gloves should fit snugly at the wrist but permit free movement of the fingers.  Ear protection should always be worn by crewmen working in enginerooms, and eye protection for crewmen who are chipping paint or rust, working on batteries, sanding, grinding or spray painting, etc.

In darkness or in poor visibility highly visible protective clothing should always be worn.

These are some simple instructions, warnings, and examples to adhere to for new (and frankly all) crewmembers.

This is Part I of “Safety on the Job.”  Part II will follow in my next safety column.

cfn-12_16-coverTo get the rest of the December 2016 issue of Commercial Fisheries News, please choose from the following options:  

• BUY a Single PRINT edition of CFN that is delivered by MAIL. PRINT EDITION

• Quickly enjoy ONLINE access with our Hi-DEF flip-book. PURCHASE ONLINE EDITION  

(Read online flip-book immediately with purchased access key and download a copy for yourself to keep.  Not sure if it works for you? Try a FREE SAMPLE HERE.)

• SAVE BIG when you SUBSCRIBE

Permanent link to this article: http://fish-news.com/cfn/safe-boat-smart-boat-safety-on-the-job/