Any time a fisherman sets out onto the water, they put themselves at risk. For sure, the life of a commercial fisherman can be harsh, lonely and quite dangerous. Still, many are drawn to the field, perhaps because it is something that their families have always done or simply because of an inherent love of working outdoors in nature.
One of the dangers that commercial fishermen face is being thrown off the vessel and into the water. This situation can turn lethal very fast. As strange as it may seem, there are far too many fishermen who can’t swim a stroke. But even being a good swimmer isn’t enough to keep you alive in frigid waters or when the injuries that caused you to slip into the water incapacitate you. There is always the danger that you might get sliced up by the boat’s propellor if you wind up in the water.
Some of these dangers may be mitigated if the fishermen are wearing life jackets and somebody sees them fall in. But that is never a given on a commercial fishing boat when one fisherman may be conducting a solitary watch while the others sleep.
Regardless, the owner of the vessel is compelled to do all they can to assure the safety of the men and women working aboard the boat. This can include video monitoring and alarm systems that immediately alert the boat’s captain that a man has gone overboard.
Were you injured by going overboard from the commercial fishing vessel on which you were working? If so, your injuries may be covered by provisions under the Jones Act and not be viewed as traditional workers’ compensation or personal injury statutes. As these cases can be quite complex, we can help you through all phases of the claims process.