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How commercial fishing workers can stay safe during storm season

Just because it’s storm season doesn’t mean that work stops. You still rely on fishing to make a living despite the sometimes challenging weather conditions. High winds and heavy rains can create work hazards that make hauling in the big catch difficult if not impossible.

While you need to work during storm season, you don’t want to jeopardize your life to do so. There are several key things to remember year-round on a fishing vessel, but especially during storm season.

You can keep you and your shipmates safer by following these few steps:

  • Wear flotation devices. Someone who slips and falls into the water could drown, especially in choppy waters. Ensure that you and your shipmates have enough life jackets and other flotation devices for each other. If there aren’t enough or life jackets need replacing, notify management as soon as possible.
  • Keep up with safety training. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health advises commercial fishing workers to undergo marine safety every five years. Louisiana offers several local marine safety courses, making it easy to stay current on the latest safety advances.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Be prepared for the worst by running drills for ship abandonment, flooding, fire and other onboard emergencies.
  • Sound the alarm. Make sure all man overboard alarms are in proper working order and run drills so the crew knows what to do in case of emergency. You never know when you or someone onboard will count on you to save their life with these tools.
  • Use your eyes. Before setting sail, make sure you inspect your vessel’s hull, the high-water alarms and emergency water hatches are working properly. You should also take the weather into consideration and never take unnecessary chances by sailing in inclement weather.

Commercial fishing is hard work, especially during storm season. Safety becomes even more important as storms blow through the area. Heed these safety tips to help avoid an accident or even a tragedy.