Fishermen are being urged to stay safe by the RNLI, with figures showing 88 people were injured or killed in deck-machinery incidents on fishing vessels in UK waters over the past five years.
Furthermore, RNLI lifeboats in the north of England were required to launch 66 times to commercial fishing-related incidents last year, rescuing 113 people and saving four lives.
As well as encouraging skippers and vessel owners to apply for funding through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) to help replace older, more dangerous deck machinery on their boats, the RNLI is encouraging fishermen to take extra care on deck – with a new safety video being released in partnership with Seafish.
Data released by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) shows that four fishermen lost their lives in deck machinery incidents from January 1, 2011, to November 10, 2015, with a further 84 injuries being suffered by commercial fishing crew.
Frankie Horne, RNLI fishing safety manager, said: "Commercial fishing can be demanding and dangerous, especially in rough conditions throughout the winter months. All fishing crew should be fully trained on the equipment they are using and regular risk assessments should be carried out to spot hazards and dangers on deck. This new safety video is approximately six minutes long and features interviews with a range of fishing safety experts and victims of deck machinery accidents."
Worryingly, deck machinery incidents are believed to be significantly under-reported, meaning it is highly likely that many more than 84 injuries have been suffered over the past five years.
Steve Clinch, Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents at the MAIB, said: "Year after year, the MAIB receives numerous reports of fishermen suffering crush injuries, amputations and even death as the result of accidents involving deck machinery on fishing boats. Sadly, in almost all cases, accidents which occur when operating deck machinery are avoidable if fishermen undertake some basic training and adopt safe working practices.
"I would therefore recommend this awareness video to all fishermen, but especially skippers. Any fishermen going to sea should always take the time to consider carefully the potential risks of any hauling or shooting operation and take all necessary measures to protect everyone on board. Too many limbs, livelihoods and lives have been lost because fishermen have taken unnecessary risks."
The EMFF grant funding to replace older, more dangerous deck machinery became available for fishermen across the UK to apply for today.