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PFDs Just Helped Save Two Commercial Fishermen in the Bering Sea

Commercial fishermen, crew on a fishing trawler wearing personal flotation devices (PFDs).

Why are these guys smiling? Maybe because they know that the PFDs they are wearing just might save their lives. Photo credit: Ted Teske/NIOSH

We got news yesterday that two commercial fishermen on the trawler, F/V Arctic Wind, survived being swept overboard into the Bering Sea by "a freak wave". Both crew were wearing PFDs. One was in the water for approximately seven minutes and was recovered by the Arctic Wind. The second was in the water for about fifteen minutes and was retrieved by a nearby trawler, the F/V Golden Pisces. At last word, the plan was to evacuate both survivors to Dutch Harbor for medical evaluation. We want to commend the crews of both vessels for their quick rescues and we wish a speedy recovery to the survivors.

PFDs save lives. Really, they do. If you fall overboard and you are wearing a PFD, rather than merely keeping your head above water, you can focus on other aspects of your survival, like attracting the attention of your shipmates. If you are injured or unconscious, a PFD will help to keep your airway clear when you can't help yourself. In cold water, a PFD will keep you afloat when you're too cold to swim. A PFD will give you more time to be rescued.

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