Falling overboard is the second leading cause of death among commercial fishermen. Over the years, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health office in Anchorage, Alaska, has done a lot to reduce the number of man overboard deaths in the fishing fleets by encouraging fishermen to wear PFDs.
Their efforts have had some successes: The Alaska Scallop Association has a 100 percent PFD policy while on deck for its member boats, and the 8-boat Mariner fleet of Alaska crabbers also has a PFD policy for its crews.
But NIOSH figures there’s still a long way to go so they’ve hired a fisherman to help promote PFD use. He’s Angus Iversen and appears to be a crusty old fart who is quick with a one-liner.
Actually that’s not completely true. He is quick with a one-liner, but Iversen isn’t a real fisherman, he’s a character portrayed by an actor who is the center of NIOSH’s Live to be Salty campaign.
You’ll find Iversen’s image on large posters and cardboard cutout displays in gear shops, trade shows and a bar or two. His image and pithy quotes also grace bumper stickers, beverage coasters and apparel stickers.
Fisherman or not, Iversen lets you know who’s boss. “If you can swim the Bering Sea, you’re a better man than me. And you aren’t.” That’s one of his favorites.
Go to the Live to be Salty website and print out posters, bumper stickers and beverage coasters featuring Angus Iversen and his views on fishing safety. And next time you’re at the local gear shop, try on a PFD. As Iversen says, “Sure PFDs get in the way. In the way of you DROWNING.”