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Immediate Crisis

An immediate crisis includes vessel disasters, trauma, loss of life, critical injuries, suicidal thoughts, or an overdose, to name a few. Critical disasters often need assistance from others to be resolved. In crisis mode, judgment may be impaired, so relying on safety and first aid training and support from professionals can be extremely helpful. Find classes in marine safety and first aid near you on our upcoming classes page.

Crisis Resources: 

Substance Abuse

Commercial fishermen frequently endure long hours with social isolation and hard manual labor. This places them at an elevated risk of abusing alcohol, prescription painkillers, or developing an opioid addiction. Keep an eye out for signs of substance abuse and encourage open communication about addiction and the possibility of an overdose. 

Signs of an Opioid Overdose:

  • Unresponsive

  • Constricted pupils

  • Shallow breathing

If you suspect an opioid overdose, call in an emergency and use your NARCAN kit. Save a life: get trained in first aid/CPR and how to administer NARCAN.

Substance Abuse Resources: 


Stressors in the Fishery

Many commercial fishermen have experienced stress or trauma through their work. Stress is produced in response to perceived threats and allows us to accomplish incredible feats of strength and survive disaster situations. While stress has a purpose, living under constant stress is detrimental to one's health. Recognizing stressors and addressing how to manage them takes work and self awareness. 

Stress Management Resources: 

Stress Management Methods:

Historically, fishermen experiencing stress or trauma were expected to manage their emotions on their own. Hormone imbalances due to stress affect more than one's emotional state, but have lasting effects on blood pressure, memory loss, and chronic health problems. Stress can sneak up on people or be the result of a traumatic event. The following are some strategies that people have found effective in managing their stress:

  • Sleep​

  • Healthy meals

  • Spend time with friends & family

  • Focus on something practical you can do

  • Breath exercises​

  • Physical exercise

  • Yoga/stretching

  • Talk about your emotions

  • Journal

  • Take a break

  • Rest

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Ways to Mitigate Stressors:

  • Set realistic goals

  • Work on finding the positives

  • Make time for activities you enjoy 

  • Keep boat maintained

  • Make ergonomic changes to workplace

  • Keep crew up to speed on safety drills

  • Play, laugh, and exercise​

When to Get Help:

Managing one's stress is a great starting point, but what happens when those management methods aren't working? Outside help may be necessary in order to cope with one's stress load, but how do you know when to get help?

  • When symptoms interfere with one's daily life

  • When symptoms last more than a month

Fishing Forward Podcast:

Listen to shared experiences through the Fishing Forward Podcast. Fishing Forward focuses on health, safety, and wellness in the commercial fishing industry. Episodes 10-11 talk about mental health on the water. 

Fishermen's Mental Health & Wellness

Commercial fishermen are often isolated in high-stress environments with limited access to physical or mental health resources. Meanwhile, they face more stressors compared to other workers from the boat, crew, weather, regulations, economic stress, lack of sleep, injuries, chronic pain and health problems, balanced diet, traumatic events, anxiety, to depression. Please use these resources if you are experiencing a crisis, or to learn how to recognize signs of stress, how to manage stress, and when additional resources and aid are needed. 

Immediate Crisis
Substance Abuse
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