As a commercial fisherman, you spend days and even weeks at sea to earn a living. You’re at the mercy of the elements and the dangers of working on a commercial fishing boat. You don’t have to be told that fishermen face hazards that can lead to severe injuries and even death.
Commercial fishing is one of the most hazardous occupations in the United States. The fatality rate is 29 times higher than the national average worker fatality. The Gulf coast shrimp industry had the highest number of deaths from 2005 to 2014 in all commercial fishing fleets.
What threatens crew member safety?
Many commercial fishing accidents can be prevented if safety measures are followed. Knowing potential dangers can help prevent fishing injuries and death. Four common causes of commercial fishing boat accidents are:
- Bad weather conditions. Extreme weather patterns bring large storms to the Gulf Coast, which can make for a dangerous situation. Heavy rain, strong gales and fog can cause capsizing, grounding, collisions and loss of direction.
- Lack of safety gear. Boats need to have proper life-saving gear. This includes things like survival suits, ropes, life vests, survival suits, radio beacons and life ring buoys. Crew members need training, so they know how to use this equipment so that everyone is prepared for the unexpected.
- Not enough training. Safety and survival training can’t be ignored. When crew members aren’t trained to do their jobs well, they’re more likely to make mistakes. Even a little error in commercial fishing can cause a severe accident or even death.
- Fatigue. The commercial fishing environment is stressful. It demands long and sometimes unpredictable hours. It’s not uncommon for crew members to work to the point of exhaustion. Being exhausted can make it hard to operate machinery properly or react quickly to danger.
Risk and danger are part of commercial fishing, but there are ways that fleet operators and boat owners can make the job safer. If you or someone you love was injured on a commercial fishing boat, a maritime lawyer could help you understand your rights and benefits.