Why should I wear a Lifejacket or Buoyancy Aid when i’m angling?

The lives of at least nine anglers may have been saved in 2012; had they been wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid. Of the nine anlgers that died; seven were shore-based.

Fishing from the rocks

In 2012, five of the seven shore anglers who might have been saved had they been wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid – were fishing from rocks. Over the last six years, at least 41 might have been saved if they had worn some form of buoyancy device. Most anglers recognise the importance of wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid when they are onboard a small boat. But do you wear one when you’re fishing from rocks?

Unexpected large waves can wash you off rock marks. Be aware and prepare, by wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid.

Who has compiled these statistics?
These figures have been compiled by an expert panel review comprising: Angling Trust, RNLI, Royal Yachting Association, Marine Accident Investigation Branch, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, National Water Safety Forum, British Canoe Union, the lifejacket industry, Scottish Fishermen’s Federation and University of Portsmouth.

The panel uses data supplied from Coastguard and MAIB databases and therefore only covers coastal incidents. Other inland fatal angling incidents, where a lifejacket might have saved a life may have occurred during 2012, but these are not included for this exercise.

In March 2013 the panel reviewed the Coastguard/MAIB data and assessed whether a lifejacket or buoyancy aid would have made a difference in saving a person’s life. A decision was made about whether it was probable, possible or unlikely that the person would have been saved by wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid. The panel also took into consideration factors such as whether the lifejacket or buoyancy aid was suitably maintained, correctly worn and fit for purpose. In some cases it was not appropriate for the person to be wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid, for example swimmers.

Figures for all activities
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) recorded 132 maritime fatalities in 2012. The expert panel reviewed 45 of these where the casualty might have worn a lifejacket or buoyancy aid (so cliff fallers, suicides and so on were not included).

Of the 45 fatalities, the panel judged that it may have been appropriate for 27 people to have been wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid. Of these 27, the panel agreed that 20 would probably or could possibly have been saved had they been wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid.

Figures have been compiled by the panel for the last six years and during that period the panel judged that 136 people’s lives might have been saved had they been wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid.
Read the full blog at: http://hmcoastguard.blogspot.co.uk/
Read Personal Buoyancy Afloat: http://www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk/professional/bouyancyafloat.asp

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News and Updates May ’13

Fisherman Launch new film titled – Lifejacket: A Fisherman’s Friend
Two Bridlington fishermen have made a short film to encourage their fellow fishermen to wear lifejackets whilst at sea. The two minute film, entitled "Lifejacket: a fisherman's friend" is available at
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The decision to make the film came after a panel of experts concluded that 26 fishermen could still be alive today had they been wearing a lifejacket when they were involved in an incident at sea (2007-11 figures). The Fishing Industry Safety Group (FISG), were so alarmed by the new statistic that they put the idea of a short film forward to fishermen Dylan Silverwood and Christopher Stewart. They then made the film, with some help from FISG members.
"I wouldn't like to go to sea without a lifejacket", says salmon fisherman Dylan Silverwood. "When you hit the water, you start gasping like a fish, so unless you've got your lifejacket on, you could be in real difficulties. If you're a fisherman, please watch our little film and consider buying a lifejacket and using it whenever you set to sea. It really is quite easy to wear one – a lifejacket isn't heavy or cumbersome – and it could save your life."
This is the first in a series of films that fishermen will be making about buoyancy wear for different types of fishing.

Southwold Pier-to-Pub Swim: Dozens rescued from the sea
Dozens of people taking part in a charity sea swim off Suffolk had to be rescued after getting into difficulty.
More than 130 swimmers in Southwold had problems, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) confirmed. Four RNLI lifeboats and a rescue helicopter were involved from about 13:00 BST, after initial reports that up to 90 people were missing.
Two people were taken to James Paget Hospital in Gorleston with suspected hypothermia, the MCA spokeswoman added. The organisers of the race have not yet commented on the rescue operation.
The MCA spokeswoman said it was unclear how the swimmers got into trouble as weather conditions were fine, but the water was “very cold”. Some swimmers were rescued by lifeboat while a number of people swam to the shore themselves, she said.
Eyewitnesses spoke of exhausted swimmers coming out of the sea and being wrapped in towels, while a lifeboat hut close to the pier was turned into a makeshift emergency centre.
Organised by Active Outdoor Sport, the swim started north of the pier and was due to finish a mile down the coast. Read the full story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-22674418

Scrapping of HSE offshore division will undermine safety, survey finds
A survey released today of 5000 North Sea oil and gas workers has found that 75% believe the Governments decision to scrap the Health and Safety Executive’s offshore division will undermine offshore safety.
The survey, released by OilandGasPeople.com, also found 62% were worried that the scrapping of the unit would lead to another Piper Alpha disaster. The oil and gas workers questioned the timing of the decision to close the division two months before the 25th anniversary of the Piper Alpha Disaster. The setting up of the dedicated HSE offshore division was a key recommendation of Lord Cullen’s report into ways to prevent another disaster taking place. The decision also comes at a time when oil and gas workers are feeling more at risk. 72% believe that it is the worst possible time to close the Health and Safety Executive’s offshore division, given recent concerns over ageing platforms and closures of platforms due to safety issues, such as the recent leak at the Cormorant Alpha platform.

“While there is no doubt that safety on North Sea oil and gas rigs has improved immeasurable since Lord Cullen’s report into the Piper Alpha disaster, our survey clearly shows that rig workers are concerned by the timing of the decision to cut one of Lord Cullen’s key recommendations, in the year of the 25thanniversary of the disaster itself,” said Kevin Forbes, CEO of Oilandgaspeople.com.

“What’s more, the decision comes at a time when workers are feeling greater concern because of ageing platforms and recent leaks, such as on the Cormorant Alpha platform. It isn’t surprisingly that the combination of the cutting of the HSE dedicated offshore division and ageing platforms has left many offshore workers feeling more at risk,” he said.
Read the full story: http://www.oilandgaspeople.com/news/717/scrapping-of-hse-offshore-division-will-undermine-safety-survey-finds/

Lifejacket warning from Swansea Coastguard

At 4.20pm Swansea Coastguard received a report that a grounded yacht with ten people on board was in difficulty on the Wrach Channel in Cardiff Bay. The 34 foot sailing yacht had gone aground on its passage through the Wrach Channel to the Locks. There were three children on board and seven adults. Swansea Coastguard Watch Manager David Jones said,
“There was concern for the safety of those on board the grounded yacht and there were not enough life jackets. It is vital that when going afloat you carry enough life jackets for everyone on board and make sure that your crew know what to do in an emergency.

1. Carrying a VHF radio on your vessel is vital and VHF DSC (Digital Selective Calling) is strongly recommended. Ensure your radio equipment is fully working and you know what to do in an emergency. With DSC you can send a distress alert along with your exact position, with one touch of the button. The distress alert is repeated every four minutes until it is acknowledged either by a Coastguard Station (Ship to Shore) or by a vessel (Ship to Ship) within radio range.

2. Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) numbers are programmed into a DSC radio set and an MMSI is issued as part of your radio licence application, via Ofcom. It consists of a series of nine digits, which are used to uniquely identify the radio on your vessel.

3. The MCA is a partner in the Sea Vision UK campaign to raise awareness and understanding of the sea and maritime activities. Sea Vision promotes the importance and economic value of the sector and works to highlight the exciting range of activities and career opportunities available to young people within the UK growing maritime sector. www.seavisionuk.org

4. Stay safe – before heading out on the water get trained, check weather and tides, wear a lifejacket, avoid alcohol and keep in touch”
Read more on the MCA website…

Two men rescued after capsizing dinghy

At 11.30 am today, Clyde Coastguard observed a small dinghy, from their operations room, that had been launched from Cardwell Bay slipway, with two men aboard. Whilst the dinghy was being watched by the Coastguard, one of the men stood up and fell into the water, capsizing the dinghy, and throwing the other man into the water. Clyde Coastguard called out the Greenock Coastguard Rescue Team and requested the launch of the Helensburgh RNLI inshore lifeboat.

The Clyde Harbour Pilot Boat, which was already on the water, responded to the Coastguards request for help, and recovered the two men (only one of whom was wearing a lifejacket) from the water. The men were brought to shore to be met by waiting coastguards and an ambulance. They were taken to hospital suffering from the effects of the cold water.

Calum Murray, Watch Manager, Clyde Coastguard said: “Small boats are unstable platforms so be careful when moving around and try to distribute your weight as evenly as possible. We recommend that recreational sailors and motorboaters wear lifejackets at all times whilst on deck. These should be well maintained and have a sprayhood, light and whistle if possible. A crotch strap is an important part of the lifejacket as it stops it from riding up whilst in the water, so make sure that you wear it. Check your lifejacket over regularly, paying particular attention to the gas canister – make sure that it is properly connected and is not rusty. Make sure that you have a suitable method of communication with you. A VHF DSC radio is ideal with a charged mobile phone in a plastic bag and marine flares as back-up. Remember though, that a mobile phone cannot be relied upon since signal quality is often intermittent at best when at sea”. Read more on the MCA website…

Coastguards wade in to rescue surfer

A teenage surfer was rescued from the water at Saltburn-by-the-Sea this afternoon after Skinningrove Coastguard Rescue Team donned water rescue equipment and recovered her to the shore. The coastguard rescue team were in the area after responding to another incident on the cliffs nearby when they were made aware of a female that had got into difficulty and was unable to make it back to the beach at Saltburn-by-the-Sea. At the same time, several 999 calls were made to the operations room at Humber Coastguard to report the incident, including from the concerned father of the 17-year-old girl. Humber Coastguard requested the launch of the Redcar RNLI lifeboat to assist. Meanwhile, Skinningrove Coastguard donned water rescue equipment and waded into the breakers with a spare lifejacket to recover the surfer. The teenage surfer was brought ashore exhausted and reunited with her family. Read more on the MCA website…

Lifejackets for lifesavers – South west RNLI volunteers launch campaign to buy new lifejackets

Volunteers at the 35 RNLI lifeboat stations in the south west are supporting a campaign to raise the £220,000 needed to buy them all new lifejackets. The two brand new types of lifejacket were designed through joint collaboration between the RNLI and the manufacturer to meet the charity’s current search and rescue requirements.

It was back in 1854 that an RNLI Inspector called Captain Ward invented a cork lifejacket that proved a lifesaver on numerous occasions. But since those days, the charity has always looked to advance and improve its safety equipment, from kapok lifejackets to Beaufort lifejackets and the present day design. Read more on the RNLI website…

RNLI Sea Safety team hold lifejacket clinic

RNLI Sea Safety team were invited to demonstrate the maintenance of lifejackets. These are relaxed and free lifejacket clinics given by the RNLI voluntary sea safety teams to anyone involved with wearing a lifejacket enabling people to understand the way lifejackets work and how to keep them maintained.

Read more on the RNLI website…

Ready, Set, Inflate! event breaks world record

Children and adults at Mudeford Quay, east Dorset helped to blow away the world record for life jacket inflations on 21 May as part of the worldwide Ready, Set, Inflate! day. The UK’s event saw 64 people inflate lifejackets and the UK was in the top three worldwide for the most inflations at a single event. There were 99 Ready, Set, Inflate! events on 21 May in the USA, Canada, Japan, Brazil, Australia and the UK.

Read more on the MCA website…

Ready, Set, Inflate!

About 60 children and adults inflated their lifejackets en masse at Mudeford Quay, east Dorset on Saturday as part of the international Ready Set Inflate! event. It is the first time that the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has hosted Ready, Set, Inflate in the UK. And the MCA hopes that the event will help to promote the benefits of wearing a well maintained lifejacket to the boating community. People in Canada and America will also be participating in Ready Set Inflate and the organisers hope to break the world record for simultaneous lifejacket inflations.

Read more on the MCA website…

Lifejackets save lives

86 maritime deaths between 2007 and 2010 may have been avoided if those involved had worn a lifejacket or buoyancy aid. This is the latest finding of an expert panel which has been analysing maritime accidents since 2007.

Recently the panel, consisting of members from the MCA, RNLI, RYA, MAIB, lifejacket industry and Portsmouth University, looked at the 35 maritime deaths in 2010 where lifejacket wear may have been appropriate. They agreed that in 21 of those incidents a life might have been saved if a lifejacket or buoyancy aid had been worn.

Read more on the MCA website…