Those brave men and women who “go down to the sea in ships” to earn their living face incredible dangers every time they step aboard a vessel. In fact, commercial fishermen have fatality rates that are 29 times greater than the national average here in the United States.
For the past 30 years, the Western States Division’s (WSD) office of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in Alaska has conducted fishing safety studies to decrease the number and frequency of fishermen’s deaths and injuries out on the water. Below are some of the Institute’s findings.
The top three risks for fishermen
NIOSH determined these three incidents placed fishermen at the greatest risk of injury or death:
- Vessel disasters
- Overboard falls
- Machinery on deck
Under the Commercial Fishing Industry Vessel Safety Act (CFIVSA) of 1988, the Coast Guard was vested with the authority to create needed, lifesaving regulations that commercial fishing vessels must follow. Some of the requirements are to have aboard the vessel emergency equipment like immersion suits and life rafts.
The survival rate after CFIVSA was implemented initially rose from 77% to 94% — a significant improvement across the commercial fishing industry.
Did you suffer offshore injuries or lose a loved one at sea?
Maritime laws differ greatly from the personal injury and wrongful death civil statutes we follow on land and which differ from state to state. It can be challenging to recuperate and/or cope with your grief after disaster strikes while trying to sort through the legal angles.
Don’t make decisions now without getting some solid legal advice from those who fully understand the Jones Act provisions and other maritime laws.