National Fisherman

Boats & Gear 

Michael CrowleyThe Boats & Gear blog is overseen by our Boats & Gear editor, Michael Crowley. It explores new construction projects, electronics, gear and equipment for the commercial fishing industry.

There are all sorts of ways to be killed or injured on a fishing boat. Most of them are preventable. One type of injury that seems the most avoidable is machinery related: You are working on equipment when someone turns it on and your body parts are crushed or cut off, or you are electrocuted.

Avoiding this is smart for all parties concerned. It’s smart for you because you are still intact and functioning. And it is smart for the boat owner because he isn’t being hauled into court, where the damages can be notable. The Web site for one group of attorneys who obviously go after this type of case says they won a decision for $2.5 million for a fisherman who lost a hand because a machine didn’t have the proper guard on it.

I’m betting the fisherman would rather have his hand. And I’m betting the guy who started the engine on a boat a few years ago in Kodiak wishes he hadn’t. A diver was working on the boat’s prop. He was killed.

It happened again at the end of March on the factory trawler Ocean Peace, which was near Adak, an island in Alaska’s Aleutian chain, 450 miles west of Dutch Harbor. Joemar Lontoc was cleaning a fish-processing machine. When the machine was turned on, he almost lost a hand and had to be airlifted off the boat.

The way to avoid this kind of accident is not complicated: First, shut off all power to whatever it is you are working on; second, make sure everyone on the boat knows power isn’t to be activated to that piece of equipment.

The best way to do this is with a Lockout/Tagout program. As the name says, you put a lock on the power source to physically prevent someone from operating a switch, key or lever. The tag that accompanies the lock has your name on it and when the power was shut off.

Jennifer Lincoln with NIOSH in Anchorage, Alaska, and Jensen Maritime Consultants in Seattle, Wash., developed a handout explaining how Lockout/Tagout works.

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 3/10/15

In this episode, Online Editor Leslie Taylor talks with Mike McLouglin, vice president of Dunlop Industrial and Protective Footwear.

National Fisherman Live: 2/24/15

In this episode:

March date set for disaster aid dispersal
Oregon LNG project could disrupt fishing
NOAA tweaks gear marking requirement
N.C. launches first commercial/recreational dock
Spiny lobster traps limits not well received

Inside the Industry

NMFS announced two changes in regulations that apply to federal fishing permit holders starting Aug. 26.

First, they have eliminated the requirement for vessel owners to submit “did not fish” reports for the months or weeks when their vessel was not fishing.

Some of the restrictions for upgrading vessels listed on federal fishing permits have also been removed.

Read more...

Alaskans will meet with British Columbia’s Minister of Energy and Mines, Bill Bennett, when he visits Juneau next week and will ask him to support an international review of mine developments in northwest British Columbia, upstream from Southeast Alaska along the Taku, Stikine and Unuk transboundary rivers.

Some Alaska fishing and environmental groups believe an international review is the best way to develop specific, binding commitments to ensure clean water, salmon, jobs and traditional and customary practices are not harmed by British Columbia mines and that adequate financial assurances are in place up front to cover long-term monitoring and compensation for damages.

Read more...
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