The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), in cooperation with the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA) and Alaska Sea Grant, created the safety training DVD “Man Overboard: Prevention and Recovery.”
It contains a range of helpful information.
“It covers a lot of personal flotation devices and retrieval devices,” said Ted Teske, health communications specialist for NIOSH at the Alaska Pacific Regional office. “We hear a big problem is a guy’s floating, but how do we get them back over to the vessel?”
The new DVD contains demonstrations of man overboard drills, proper man overboard recovery techniques, realistic rescue scenarios, and interviews with commercial fishermen who have survived a fall overboard. There is also some insight into how NIOSH researches and evaluates personal flotation devices.
Knowing what to do in these situations is important because of the high death rate associated with fishermen overboard. Between 2000 and 2009, 155 commercial fishermen died after falling overboard. None of the victims was wearing a personal flotation device. Teske said it’s one of the most important pieces of safety equipment.
“One really important thing for guys going out in the water is finding a comfy (personal flotation device) to wear,” Teske said. “There are a ton of varieties out there. Some are built into rain gear or tough enough to work in. Just try on a lot that will work for you. That’s the No. 1 thing you can do to survive is float.”
Teske said just last week a man was saved in California because he was wearing a personal flotation device when he went overboard, and managed to stay visible long enough for someone to rescue him.
“It happens every year,” Teske said. “The more you can float and stay visible, the better your chance of survival.”
The DVD is available on the NIOSH website at www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/fishing, or by calling the NIOSH office at 907-268-1137.
“We’re hoping to get it uploaded to the NIOSH website and YouTube in the next few weeks,” Teske said.
Mirror writer Louis Garcia can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.