Safety Training for Commercial Fishermen

As a commercial fisherman, how often should I receive safety training?

The answer varies according the particular risks that you face and the specific needs of your vessel. That said, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that commercial fishermen:

  • Take a marine safety class at least once every five years.
  • Perform monthly drills for specific risks such as fire, man overboard, abandon ship and flooding.
  • Understand safety policies such as working a personal flotation device (PFD) while on deck.
  • Regularly test safety equipment to make sure that it is working properly.

While these recommendations are for commercial fishermen to complete, it remains the responsibility of vessel owners and operators to provide safety trainings, safety policies, and time for testing safety equipment.

These requirements are about more than simply checking off a box. They can provide you with the important information that you need to avoid a serious injury—or worse a fatality—at sea.

Advocate for Your Own Safety

If you believe that you are not receiving adequate safety training then it is important to take action before you get hurt. Talk to your employer and suggest specific training that you feel would benefit you and your crew members. You can also talk to your crew members and go to your employer as a group if you feel that it would be more effective.

Training won’t prevent every tragedy at sea, but it can help lower your risk of being hurt. Please share this FAQ with other commercial fishermen that you know so that, together, we can help prevent injuries and fatalities.