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Ice accretion: The cause of fishing boat accidents

Residents of New York and other seaport towns and cities across the United States may want to learn more about a recent U.S. study regarding fishing boat accidents. Fishing boat accidents, such as the F/V SCANDIES ROSE in 2019 and the DESTINATION in 2017, were tragedies and caused much loss of loved ones. This is part of the reason the the U.S. Coast Guard had the task of understanding the cause of these accidents.

According to maritime injury investigations, a contributing factor was the accumulation of ice on fishing gear. The study found ice in and on crab and cod pots.

Weight is the problem

The pots used in the icy waters of the Alaskan Bering Sea became icy. This caused a weight problem for the fishing boats. Research teams learned this through laboratory tests and further study.

Testing at sea

The Coast Guard worked with research teams in the lab and out at sea. They found that on boats in the cold seas, the ice within the pots weighed more than the pots themselves.

Lab testing

Within the lab testing, they sprayed water in a cold environment; a chamber had a temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Noted was the accumulation of the spray. Other objects, found on the boat decks, were also sprayed, such as nets.

Test results show the power of ice

An iced pot maxed out the scale at 3000 pounds. This presents a clear danger to the vessel. It might be the cause of previous and future fishing boat tragedies.

Some help in icy waters

They also tested pots with covering by the new woven-polypropylene tarps and polyethylene sheeting. These pots had less icing than those left uncovered. The report also recommended that requirements receive review beforehand, when a ship will be traveling in icy waters. You can read more about the study here.

Recent tragic fishing boat accidents led to an important Coast Guard study. The study found that loss of stability and rapid capsizing were directly due to heavy and pervasive icing.