Association representatives were at the busy Delhaven wharf last week to run Man Over Board Drills as part of their on-going Are You Ready program.
Diver Brandon Fitzgerald was suited up while safety drill facilitator Tommy Harper reviewed the rules for eight boat owners and fishers.
His mantra is: get ready, be prepared, do some drills, and know your tools. Harper also explained the necessity of wearing personal floatation devices (PFDs) that are comfortable at sea.
“The reality is you won’t wear them if they’re heavy,” he said, while outlining the merits of Mustang brand versus Nautilus. Today most inflate hydrostatically on contact with water.
“There are lots of options,” Harper said, “be sure they’re approved. The best one is the one you wear.”
He also emphasized the importance of having multiple tools on board, like a life ring, a ladder, and other devices like the more recently created Pubnico loop, which combines a life ring with a net feature.
Fitzgerald acted out various emergency scenarios, such as being overboard after having injured his arm.
“You have to do drills to get at it,” Harper noted of the rescue attempts. “This is really serious stuff and it does happen. You have to have a plan.”
The loss of fishers on the job, like the tragic sinking of the Miss Ally in 2013, and high workers’ compensation rates have prompted a culture change when it comes to safety in the fishing industry.
Safety advisor Matthew Duffy said the program will be delivered to 60 Nova Scotia ports by Nov. 24.