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How to prevent man overboard fatality on commercial vessels

On Behalf of | Feb 8, 2017 | Admiralty & Maritime Law

In Louisiana, the commercial fishing industry employs a wide range of dedicated workers. Accordingly, ensuring the safety of all those working aboard commercial vessels is crucial. Here at Jacqueline A. Scott & Associates, we are well acquainted with the types of risks commercial fishermen face on a daily basis. Such risks include man overboard accidents, which can lead to tragic consequences if the proper safety steps are not observed.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over half of man overboard accidents that end in fatality occur when fishermen are working on their own. To this end, taking the proper precautions is vital to mitigate the effects should an accident occur. First and foremost, workers should ensure that they are not alone when working on deck. If this is not possible, safety measures such as trailing lines and boarding ladders should be utilized. These devices allow workers who have fallen into the water to be able to make their way back to the boat.

Personal floatation devices are another essential safety consideration. In many cases, man overboard fatalities are prevented when workers are outfitted in the proper gear. While hypothermia is a concern, cold incapacitation is even more common. This is a condition that can easily lead to drowning, as the victim will lose motor function and be unable to swim to safety. With a personal flotation device, workers can remain afloat until they are rescued.

Proper marking of the victim is also crucial. This can be accomplished via GPS, life rings, marker lights and any other safety equipment available. A rescue swimmer should also be deployed, and this person should be prepared with the right coverage depending on the conditions of the water. If you’ve been injured while working in the commercial fishing industry, please feel free to visit our website today for more information.