Commercial fishermen have a fatality rate that is nearly 30 times higher than the national average, making commercial fishing one of the most dangerous professions in the country. And for those commercial fishermen who survive commercial fishing accidents, many are left permanently disabled and unable to work. Luckily, however, there are steps commercial fishermen can take to drastically reduce the odds of being hurt while on the job. Below are some tips for staying safe as a commercial fisherman.
Staying Safe as Commercial Fisherman
Wear a Life Jacket
Falls overboard are the second leading cause of commercial fishing fatalities. However, most of the fishermen who die following falls overboard are not wearing life jackets. If you’re a commercial fisherman, wearing a life jacket is the best way to increase your odds of surviving a fall overboard. Although some commercial fishermen find life jackets bulky and uncomfortable, there are a number of lightweight, modern life jackets available today that aren’t nearly as restrictive as old-fashioned life vests.
As a commercial fisherman, you must constantly stay aware of your surroundings. By keeping an eye out for unsafe situations and for the safety of your co-workers, you drastically reduce the odds of an accident.
Wear Appropriate Footwear
Wearing shoes with slick bottoms on a fishing boat is a recipe for disaster. As a commercial fisherman, you should always wear enclosed shoes with non-slip soles.
One of the things that makes commercial fishing so dangerous is the physical nature of the job. It’s common to become fatigued as a commercial fisherman. Harsh weather conditions, odd hours, and physical labor are a recipe for exhaustion. Therefore, it’s imperative to get enough sleep in your off time while on a commercial fishing boat.
Avoid Being on Deck Alone
If possible, you should avoid being on deck alone while on a commercial fishing boat. And if you absolutely must be on deck alone, be sure to tell someone first.
Participate in Safety Drills
Fishing crews should regularly perform safety drills and training exercises while on board. Commercial fisherman should know how to retrieve someone who has fallen overboard, how to put on an immersion suit, and how to respond to a vessel fire or flood.
Contact a Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana Maritime Attorney
If you are a commercial fisherman or other maritime worker who has been injured in a maritime accident, you need a talented group of Lousiana and Gulf of Mexico admiralty and maritime lawyers on your side. At Koch & Schmidt, our experienced maritime attorneys serve commercial fishermen and other maritime employees in Southern Louisiana and the Texas Gulf Coast region. If you are an injured commercial fisherman or other maritime worker, we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Please contact us today for a free evaluation of your case.