Preventing tragedy: Fishermen share safety stories in NIOSH videos

Pat Glaab, an Alaska salmon seiner, and Stan Jones, an Oregon Dungeness crabber, take the lead roles in two of NIOSH’s safety videos.

Glaab’s video is “I Reached Over And Hit The E-Stop”, while the title of Jones’ is more straight to the point, “My Life Vest Saved Me.”

Both videos are shot on the boats where the accidents happened. In Glaab’s case it was the seiner Norisle, where while hauling the purse line with the deck winch, the line quickly tighten up, as a crewman walked over it, catapulting him head first on to the winch. The crewman operating the hydraulics didn’t see it happen, but Glaab, who was standing by the rail witnessed it and quickly hit the E-Stop, shutting down the hydraulics. Once the crewman was freed from the winch the crew to continue what they were doing without “having a big tragedy.”

Prior to this, Glaab admits to wondering if he did “a good thing, bad thing or complicated our lives” by installing the E-Stop. He concludes it “prevented ourselves from having a terrible thing happen.”

It was in November, 2011, and Jones had just starting setting out his Dungy pots. The Agnes C had 100 pots stacked six high and was crossing a bar when she started running through short, sharp, quick seas. Suddenly the Agnes C took a hard list, and Jones, who was standing atop the pots was forced backwards to the rail. “I couldn’t stop myself,” he remembers. Then it was over the rail and into the sea.

Quickly, he disappeared. Jones was sinking “like a rock”, but he remembers it being “peaceful and quiet,” and though he thought he was “a goner,” he “had made peace with it.” The only sound was a bubbling around his ears.

Then the life vest “went into action.” He suddenly stopped going down and was floated to the surface. Though the Agnes C was still traveling away from him, when Jones heard the “Man Overboard!” call he knew he had a chance. Within five minutes of falling in the water he was back aboard the Agnes C.

Jones attributes his survival not only to his life jacket but a safety course given by the Coast Guard in conjunction with the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association that allowed him to make it back on the boat once he reached the surface.

About the author

Michael Crowley

Michael Crowley is the former Boats & Gear editor for National Fisherman.

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