The safety of our crews is paramount, and Waterdance has recently completed the roll-out of new life jackets to all crew members. Each member now has their own Safelink SOLO Compact Supreme 150 life jacket, with a Kannad Safelink SOLO Personal Locator Beacon. The life jackets were purchased through MarineCo and with funding from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).
The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) has issued an M Notice stating that it is compulsory for all commercial fishermen to wear a life jacket (also referred to as a personal flotation device or PFD) or use a safety harness at sea, unless a vessel has a documented risk assessment to show that risks of going overboard are controlled in another way.
Research has proven that wearing a life jacket can increase the chances of survival by up to four times during immersion in cold water.* Man-overboard incidents lead to more fatalities than any other incidents on UK-registered fishing vessels. The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) database of marine accidents between 2000 and 2017 records 153 fatal drowning accidents from UK-registered fishing vessels. Of these fatalities, 104 were not wearing PFDs.
Personal Location Beacon (PLB)
Each of our crew members now has their own Kannad SafeLink SOLO Personal Location Beacon (PLB), which gives direct contact with search-and-rescue services when a life-threatening incident occurs anywhere in the world. The SafeLink SOLO is a 406MHz beacon which operates on the global COSPAS SARSAT satellite communication system, supported by international government search-and-rescue authorities around the world. It has integral 50-channel GPS which is constantly updated, ensuring the wearer can be accurately located, thus speeding up the time of rescue. The SafeLink SOLO PLB also transmits on the 121.5MHz homing frequency so that when the emergency services get close they can ‘home in’ on the signal. Once activated, the SafeLink SOLO PLB will transmit constantly for a minimum of 24 hours, and will operate at temperatures down to -20°C. It also has an SOS LED flashing light that the user can switch on to aid rescue in the dark.
Source* Professor Mike Tipton 2012.