Bord Iascaigh Mhara urge fishermen to 'Live to Tell The Tale'

Tara and Fishermen

Hard-hitting Safety at Sea campaign aims to promote significant behavioural change.

18 January 2016

Tara and Fishermen

Hard-hitting Safety at Sea campaign aims to promote significant behavioural change

Fifty-three fishermen have lost their lives at sea over the last ten years. In 2015 alone, there were four fatal fishing related accidents in the sector. Against such stark statistics, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the Irish Sea Fisheries Board, has today launched a national advertising and Public Relations campaign entitled ‘Live to Tell The Tale’ to drive more fishermen to complete mandatory BIM safety survival training and wear their personal flotation device (PFD) lifejacket at all times when at sea.

Supporting the launch of the campaign, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney said: “This is a very effective campaign with a strong and hard-hitting message. I hope that fishing families across the country will get behind it and encourage their loved ones to wear their Personal Flotation Devices when they head out on their boats to help ensure they return home safely. Our fishing industry is an integral part of our coastal communities and too many families have already suffered the loss of a family member to the sea. I fully support BIM’s exceptional safety training programme that not only delivers mandatory training to fishermen around our coast but new technology such as the compact PFD lifejacket that further increases survival rates in what is a dangerous occupation”

According to BIM commissioned research undertaken by Behaviour and Attitudes, more than 36% of fishermen personally know a colleague who has been lost at sea. However, despite this, over half of these fishermen still do not wear a Personal Flotation Device when at sea. The ‘Live to Tell the Tale’ campaign is looking to reverse this trend by promoting a behaviour change to motivate and encourage fishermen to take part in survival training and wear their Personal Flotation Devices at all times while on board their fishing vessel. The campaign features hard-hitting radio, press and outdoor advertisements that are designed to be thought provoking and make fishermen think of the consequences of not wearing a PFD lifejacket.

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) CEO Tara McCarthy said: “This campaign is crucial to improving the survival rate of those working in the fishing industry and providing their families with peace of mind each time they take to the seas. Fishing is an important industry in this country, directly employing over 3,500 people, and as the agency responsible for the provision of safety training, we are determined to make the sector as safe as possible. According to national figures, fishing is approximately 13 times more dangerous than construction and 36 times more dangerous than general employment. Fishermen have to battle bad weather and hostile sea conditions which increase the risk of accidents. With this in mind, vital survival training and the necessary safety equipment worn correctly by all crew at all times is paramount. I would strongly urge fishermen to complete their BIM safety training and wear their Personal Flotation Device every time they go to sea – if not for themselves, for their families and loved ones’

The Personal Flotation Device (PFD) with an integrated Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) is a Global Positioning System (GPS) enabled lifejacket available through BIM’s Safety Training programme. The PFD which activates in the water means fishermen can be found swiftly in the event of an accident and hopefully found alive. Traditional life jackets don’t use this technology meaning searches at sea can last days longer than is necessary adding to the anxiety felt by families of fishermen.

Speaking at the launch was Wicklow fisherman David Massey, one of three crew on the fishing vessel ‘MFV Lavicca’ that capsized off the Wicklow coast on April 15th2015. David explains how he lived to tell the tale; “We headed out to sea on what was a beautiful day. Next thing I knew the stern of the boat was under. Then I hit the water. My BIM PFD lifejacket went off straight away. My next thought was my son, who passed away three years ago. I wondered was this it…was I going to be reunited with him? Next thing I heard was the sound of a helicopter. We were saved thanks to the GPS signal on my lifejacket and on board the boat. Without this new equipment, I would quite simply not be here and I would not have seen my wife and kids again”

The ‘Live to Tell the Tale’ campaign will run across the country over the next four weeks. BIM will be running a full schedule of ‘Live to Tell the Tale’ Safety Training Courses around the coast to coincide with the campaign and throughout the year. The courses are available through BIM’s National Fisheries Colleges in Greencastle, Co. Donegal , Castletownbere, Co. Cork and on board BIM’s mobile Coastal Training Units that travel to every port in the country. Get the full schedule of courses

Hear more stories of fishermen who lived to tell the tale