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Increasing safety precautions can reduce shipboard risk

On Behalf of | Aug 16, 2019 | Jones Act

New York fishermen work for a variety of commercial operators. Some are highly-mechanized ocean-going vessels, while others use a blend of modern and traditional techniques. Commercial fishing is a physically demanding job. Injuries can occur at any time, whether you are in the galley or on deck. At Tabak Mellusi & Shisha LLP, we often represent clients in maritime accident claims.

HealthDay reports that fatality rates for commercial fishermen are 28 times higher than the average worker. While accidents can happen in any job, there are some steps you can take that reduce the chance of injury.

Due to a limited season, fishermen often push through the night and work long hours to meet deadlines. When fatigue sets in, attention to detail becomes lax, mistakes happen and people get hurt. Crew rotation can help you get the rest needed to stay focused.

Rough seas send waves crashing over ships, sending 800-pound crab pots and other heavy equipment sliding across the deck. During the winter, frigid temperatures result in the sea spray freezing all surfaces on contact. Slowing down and taking extra precautions when unstable weather moves in can help minimize the risk.

The Coast Guard requires particular safety equipment for large vessels. However, boats under 200 gross tons do not have the same requirements. Insufficient safety gear is one of the most common reasons commercial fisherman with smaller operators get hurt. Wearing personal flotation devices on deck may minimally restrict mobility, but they can help keep you alive if swept into the water. Additional safety equipment includes survival suits, radio beacons and life rafts.

Did you sustain injuries while fishing on a commercial vessel? If so, you may need help filing claims and fighting for compensation under the Jones Act. Visit our webpage for more information on this topic.