A HARD-hitting campaign has been launched by the RNLI in a bid to keep fishermen safe.
More fishermen die in January than in any other month of the year, research for the lifesaving charity has revealed.
In response, the campaign has been launched to encourage fishermen to make sure their boats keep them safe at sea. It is targeted at fishermen who work on vessels under 15m in length, as 73 per cent of fishing-related deaths occurred in this category.
RNLI figures show 59 per cent of commercial fishing fatalities between 2010 and 2013 were due to a loss of vessel stability, which led to capsize, leaking or swamping.
It was also found 30 per cent of deaths occurred in January, when seas can be rough and water temperatures are dangerously low.
Frankie Horne, RNLI fishing safety manager, said: “Data shows that, tragically, 49 fishermen died between 2009 and 2012 across the UK and Ireland. We hope that this campaign will help prevent further deaths at sea.
“Commercial fishing can be demanding and dangerous, especially in rough conditions throughout the winter months.
“I’d encourage all fishermen to take a look at the films at RNLI.org/stability. They provide excellent, practical advice in an easy to digest format.
“It’s easy to get complacent with boat safety checks and it can be very tempting to cut corners to maximise a haul. But these films highlight just how easily you can compromise your boat’s stability by doing this, and the consequences can be fatal.”
The campaign includes five short films, highlighting factors that lead to dangerous instability. Key areas covered include overloading, watertight integrity, free surface effect, modifications and hauling.
Emotive adverts are also being used, with the strapline ‘Dad’s gone fishing’ and an image of coat hooks in a family home, with dad’s coat missing.
Drinks glasses, coasters and coffee mugs have been produced to support the campaign and will be distributed to pubs and bars at fishing ports across the country.