Safe crews fish more

Safe Seas Clean Seas Issue 52, August 2017

Westport fisherman Stu and his son Russell are the ‘faces’ of a new safety campaign reminding the operators and crews of small to medium size commercial fishing vessels to fish safely.

The awareness campaign, launched recently by Maritime NZ and the NZ Federation of Commercial Fishermen, features Stu passing on tales from his ‘school of hard knocks’.

“Using two cartoon charters – an experienced skipper and his young son – the campaign aims to normalise safety conversations among crews,’ says Sharyn Forsyth, the General Manager of Maritime Standards for Maritime NZ.

Stu and Russell.
Maritime New Zealand ©2019
Stu and his son Russell are the ‘faces’ of the new safety campaign.

“The statistics show that one in four fishing crew is injured every year – so we need to keep getting the safety message out there to help prevent injuries and loss of life. We also want to remind commercial fishers that safety has an economic benefit: ‘SAFE CREWS FISH MORE’.’

Over the next year there will be a series of conversations between Stu and ‘Rus’ addressing fatigue, machine guarding, winching, safety on deck, manual handling, and intoxication. Facebook, email, postcards and print advertising are being used to target seafarers and the operators of fishing vessels under 24 metres, with the ‘stories’ also loaded regularly on the Maritime NZ website.

Sharyn says the campaign builds on past work to raise awareness about the need for safety, both before and since the introduction last year of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

“We work closely with the sector and it was a natural collaboration to launch ‘SAFE CREWS FISH MORE’ at the federation’s annual conference.’

The President of the New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fishermen, Doug Saunders-Loder, says safety at sea is a core responsibility of the federation, which continues to work with Maritime NZ and others to ensure vigilance prevails.

“Our industry has been proven to be high-risk in the safety space, and we need to work on it together – that’s the big companies, our hundreds of owner-operators, Maritime NZ and crews too. We all have a responsibility to help each other.’

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