Local fishermen receive hands-on safety training on Tenants Harbor Pier

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 10:00am

TENANTS HARBOR – A one-day program at the Tenants Harbor, Fishermen’s, Co-op, town pier at 12 Commercial Road addressed actions critical to surviving an accident or emergency at sea.

There’s no question that commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.

Eric Higgins said it wasn’t his first time in a survival suit, but it was the first time he was in one and in the water.

“It was very different,” he said. “It’s restrictive, but it would definitely save my life.”

Luis Catala, was teaching immersion suits as part of the six-part safety training course.

“We are going over features and the purpose of the suit, stowage, and maintenance,” he said. ”How to get in and out of the water with a suit on and how to get in and out of the suit. Climbing in and out of a raft, something that wouldn’t be very practical for any fisherman would be to have to inflate their raft.”

Catala said they wanted the fishermen to see what it was like first-hand.

“Hopefully they may never have to do this,” he said. “Now if they do it won’t be the first time.”

Wikipedia says an immersion suit or survival suit (or more specifically an immersion survival suit) is a special type of waterproof dry suit that protects the wearer from hypothermia from immersion in cold water, after abandoning a sinking or capsized vessel, especially in the open ocean.

Russell Kingman is a trainer with the fishing partnership. He said they are giving people hands-on experience and not just showing them a video.

“We’re training people in safety procedures, life rafts, getting in the water, putting out fires and flares,” he said. “It’s all hands on. It also lets people know that maybe they aren’t that familiar with some of the equipment. They might go back to their boat and say let’s look at these fire extinguishers, where should we put our survival suits, have we checked them to see if the zippers work.”

Kingman said it gets you thinking about all the things on your boat you need to be safe out there.

Kingsman is part of the Fishing Partnership Support Services. They have been supporting the health, safety and survival training at local harbors since 1997.

Approximately 25 commercial fishermen attended the all-day safety training class. This training has been proven to save lives and prevent injuries.