The development and efficacy of safety training for commercial fishermen

J Agromedicine. 2010 Oct;15(4):351-6. doi: 10.1080/1059924X.2010.509226.


Commercial fishing is still the most dangerous occupation in the United States. Efforts to have more stringent safety regulations in this industry beginning in the 1960s, culminated in the Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Act of 1988. The purpose of this paper is to provide a short history of the development of safety training in the United States and the current training infrastructure. This paper will also review studies available regarding the effectiveness of safety training in reducing fatalities among fishermen. The lack of familiarity and practice with marine survival equipment such as life rafts, immersion suits, and emergency-locating beacons has been noted in National Transportation Safety Board and US Coast Guard casualty reports as a contributing factor in fatalities. These reports have demonstrated the importance of not just having survival equipment onboard, but training in how to use it effectively in an emergency. There is evidence that safety training has made a measurable impact in surviving an emergency at sea and that recent training (within 5 years) is most effective in saving lives. More recently, studies have been completed to understand how skills may diminish over time since initial training.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / history*
  • Accidents, Occupational / prevention & control
  • Fisheries / history*
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Occupational Health / history*
  • Safety / history*
  • Safety Management / history*
  • United States
  • Workforce