Marine safety training saves lives
Commercial fishing continues to be the most dangerous occupation in the United States. In 2014, 38 commercial fishing fatalities were reported in the US. Fatalities occurred most frequently along the East Coast (42 percent) and in the Gulf of Mexico (26 percent). Seven of the fatalities in the Gulf of Mexico were suffered by the shrimp fleet. 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, MASGC outreach personnel obtained U.S. Coast Guard certification to offer Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA) Commercial Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor training courses. MASGC organized and implemented two 12-hour courses for 27 professional fishermen in 2015.
To date, a total of 90 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. In August 2014, two AMSEA-trained Vietnamese fishermen, one of which was trained by MASGC outreach personnel, survived a vessel collision and successfully abandoned into their life raft.
MASGC offered safety training for commercial fishermen that helped them comply with U.S. Coast Guard safety drill requirements and reduced fatalities in the Gulf of Mexico fleet. (2015)