MASGC Project Impacts

Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Drill Conductor Training


Commercial fishing continues to be the most dangerous occupation in the United States. According to National Institute for Occupation Safety and Health (NIOSH) fatality statistics for the commercial fishing industry, almost a quarter (9, 24%) of the 2010 fatalities occurred in the shrimp fishery, seven of which were in the Gulf of Mexico. To address commercial fishing-related fatalities, federal law requires that captains of vessels operating in federal waters ensure that crew members receive safety instructions and onboard safety drills are conducted once a month by certified Commercial Fishing Vessel Drill Conductors. A limited number of trainers are available to offer courses in the Gulf of Mexico, which can make it difficult for the Gulf fleet to operate in compliance with the law.


To meet this educational need, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium (MASGC) outreach personnel obtained U.S. Coast Guard certification to offer Commercial Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor training courses. MASGC organized and implemented two 12-hour courses for 25 professional fishermen in 2014. Upon completion of the course, the fishermen met Coast Guard requirements to become certified Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Drill Conductors. MASGC was able to provide most of the oral and written material in the Vietnamese and English languages.


To date, a total of 73 fishermen in Mississippi and Alabama have become Coast Guard Certified Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Drill conductors as a result of MASGC’s role in organizing and implementing training.


The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium helps commercial fishermen meet U.S. Coast Guard safety drill requirements by offering training to fishermen (many who speak Vietnamese) that allows them to obtain certification. (2014)