Why is commercial fishing a dangerous occupation?
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Why is commercial fishing a dangerous occupation?

On Behalf of | Feb 20, 2024 | Boating Accidents

Commercial fishing is one of the most difficult jobs in the United States, and it presents significant risks to those who work in this industry.

The unpredictable nature of the sea can catch even the most experienced crews off guard. Also, commercial fishing often requires operations in remote areas far from immediate medical assistance, complicating emergency responses when accidents occur. People who work in commercial fishing and their loved ones can benefit from learning more about these potential dangers.

The hazardous nature of commercial fishing

Commercial fishing workers confront a range of risks that contribute to the occupation’s high fatality rate, which was over 40 times the average worker rate in 2019. From 2000 to 2019, the industry saw 878 deaths due to traumatic injuries, averaging more than 43 fatalities each year.

Working at sea brings inherent risks. Severe weather conditions, such as storms and high winds, can create life-threatening situations in moments. The leading cause of death in commercial fishing is vessel disasters, accounting for nearly half of all fatalities. Vessel disasters include sinking and capsizing.

Falls overboard represent another significant risk, contributing to 30% of fatalities. Unlike other occupational falls, those occurring at sea often happen without witnesses, drastically reducing the chances of rescue. The physical demands of handling heavy equipment and the catch can also lead to injuries. Onboard injuries, accounting for 14% of fatalities, include interactions with fishing equipment and slick decks.

Improving safety on fishing vessels

Given these risks, safety measures are essential. Implementing rigorous safety protocols, ensuring proper training for all crew members and equipping vessels with life-saving equipment can reduce the likelihood of fatalities and injuries. Awareness and preparedness help protect the lives of those who work in commercial fishing. Safety training should include first aid and survival techniques in cold water. Regular drills and maintenance checks on equipment are also important for preventing accidents.

Recognizing the dangers of commercial fishing is the first step towards improving the well-being and survival of workers who bravely venture into the seas.