Safety and survival courses for commercial fishermen begin March 22

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According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2000 to 2010, 545 commercial fishermen in the United States died on the job. According to a 10-year study done by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, about 60 percent of fishermen deaths were caused by drowning when the crew was forced to abandon ship. About 22 percent of fatalities were the result of falls overboard.

According to Luis Catala, safety training coordinator for the Fishing Partnership Support Services, two of the four fishermen who were rescued from the Sea Star, a fishing vessel that sank 18 miles south of the Vineyard on the night of Feb. 14, had taken Fishing Partnership Support Services safety training.

Fishing Partnership Support Services is offering those same safety and survival courses, free of charge, beginning Thursday, March 22, at 7:30 am at the Menemsha Coast Guard Station.

This is the second year FPSS has come to Martha’s Vineyard to train Island fishermen. This year the training is sponsored by Vineyard Wind.

On Thursday, onboard firefighting, man overboard recovery, rescue helicopter hoist procedures, flooding and pump operations, proper use of survival suits, life rafts and accompanying equipment, and first aid will be covered.
On Friday, drill conductor training will begin at 8 am. The training prepares and certifies fishermen to conduct emergency drills at sea. Federal regulations require monthly drills on commercial fishing boats that operate beyond the United States boundary line. Emergency situations addressed in the training include man overboard; fire; damage control; and abandon ship. There will be an emergency procedures class in the morning and practice drills aboard a docked vessel in the afternoon.

Participants in the drill conductor training course must have attended safety/survival training within the past 12 months.
A team of certified marine safety instructors will lead all courses.
Preregistration is recommended for both days. To sign up, fishermen can contact Morgan Eldredge at 508-237-9402, or Shannon Eldredge at 508-958-6580.