3Si Group company Ocean Safety is currently preparing the fishing sector for the introduction of a series of new operational requirements for small vessels, which are set to be implemented following an investigation by the Marine Accident and Investigation Bureau (MAIB) into recent accidents at sea.
Additional equipment will be required to be carried on-board fishing vessels under 15m in length to improve safety as part of the changes.
The new code of practice for the safety of small fishing vessels states that, for the first time, liferafts should be carried on the deck of all open vessels between 7m and 15m, as well as on decked vessels up to 10m.
Ocean Safety stocks all the equipment required for the upgrades, but more importantly the company provides an advisory service that interprets the ruling, assisting with the details, for example, of choosing which survival items should be stowed in the liferaft or whether it is preferable to store items in a ‘grab bag’ ready for an emergency evacuation.
In addition, radar reflectors and bilge alarms are to be fitted and emergency position-indicating radio beacons (EPIRBs) must be carried on all vessels over 10m.
Smaller vessels can choose this option or alternatively supply all crew members with personal locator beacons (PLBs).
The code also strongly advises that all fisherman wear personal flotation devices, or lifejackets.
Ocean Safety will take fishing boat operators through the steps of understanding and choosing the correct EPIRBs and PLBs, which under this rule must be fitted with GPS receivers so that the boat or person overboard can be located.
The company also runs familiarisation sessions on how to launch a liferaft, use EPIRBS, and lifejacket maintenance.
These requirements come into force on 23 October 2019 for existing vessels.
New vessels and existing vessels that are being registered to become fishing boats for the first time must comply immediately.
The new ruling, Marine Safety Notice MSN1871, will be enforced via MCA certification, so fishing skippers and crews need to be prepared.
For more information, please contact the 3Si Group using the enquiries form on this page.