Updated: May 14
“I absolutely thought I was a goner then out of nowhere my life vests went into action and I just like floated me right up to the surface as fast as it could and I'm like, ‘This is amazing,' that it took over and when I got to the surface to hear those words, ‘Man Overboard!’ I knew I had a chance.”
Those are the words of commercial fisherman, Stan Jones, in the video above. In November of 2011, Stan was setting Dungeness crab pots with his son, Rocky, when he fell overboard. Fortunately, Stan had the forethought to put on his life vest before going out on deck. He credits his life vest and the training he and Rocky received in an AMSEA drill conductor workshop with saving his life.
Earlier this month, we received an email from the number crunchers at NIOSH. The message contained a troubling statistic: in the U.S. for the years 2000 to 2016, there were 227 commercial fishing fatalities due to falls overboard. We’re so glad that Stan Jones didn’t add himself to that unfortunate total. But, then there's this: not one of those fatalities was wearing a personal flotation device (PFD). Next to falling overboard, not wearing a PFD appears to be a big factor when it comes to dying from going over the side.
As you can see in the video, Stan and Rocky are believers. They wear their PFDs on deck. What about you? Are you ready to wear a PFD on deck? Are you ready for your crew to wear PFDs on deck? If so, click the link below. There are lots of styles of PFDs to choose from and some may be better suited for your fishery. Remember, as Stan says, “The lifejacket you will wear is the good life jacket for you.”
Are you looking for a Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor workshop for yourself or your crew? You’re in the right place!
Finally, thank you to Stan and Rocky Jones, for sharing their story with other commercial fishermen. Thank you as well to NIOSH for producing this video and making it available online.