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Preventing shrimp boat fatalities

Louisiana is one of the top shrimp boating destinations in the United States. As shrimp boaters still have a couple of months before the fall shrimp season ends, now is an important time to review safety measures to prevent any major accidents from happening near the shoreline.

Between 2010 and 2014, shrimp boaters had the highest fatality count out of all the active commercial fishing businesses in the Gulf of Mexico. As the air becomes cooler and the sun shines less, it is important that all vessel members prepare themselves for a potential emergency.

Avoid going out in poor weather

The fall is arguably one of the most dangerous times to be a shrimp boater near the Gulf. We are still in the midst of hurricane season, so workers need to keep an eye on the weather radar to see if there is any increase in wind activity around their work area. The cool rain and wind has led to dozens of boats capsizing and men falling overboard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that the odds of crew members surviving entering the water is 6 times higher if it did not happen during a storm.

Be wary of traffic

Because of the risky weather and shorter day time, more shrimp boaters operate closer to land around this time of year. This means that you will have to spend more time navigating around other vessels who are out there for pleasure and commercial purposes. You have to mind your speed and make sure your ship’s lighting is working properly as you deal with other potential competitors.

Review safety protocol

The CDC heavily recommends that all commercial boaters have the proper safety equipment and training before they get on the water. Some of their recommendations include:

  • Taking marine safety classes once every 5 years
  • Performing emergency evacuation drills monthly
  • Wearing a personal flotation device
  • Having immersion suits on deck for colder water
  • Inspecting vessel for any deficiencies

If you or a loved one injures themselves while operating on a shrimp boat, the injured party may be eligible for the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. This Act was made to provide coverage for commercial fishermen and other maritime workers. An attorney can help you with determining your eligibility for the program and filing your claim.