The Seafarers’ Charity wants to achieve safer working lives at sea. We want to ensure people can go to sea and return home safely from their fishing trip without experiencing harm or accident.

A Dangerous Profession

Fishing is identified as the most dangerous industry in the world and analysis of ILO data, reported that fishing had the highest average work place fatality rate per 100,000 workers.

In the UK fishers face 100 times the risk of death compared to the average UK worker. Between 2012-2020 there were 52 fishing fatalities which translates to a figure of 50 fishermen in every 100,000 losing their lives at work (MCA).

Supporting Safety

The Seafarers’ Charity funds a range of initiatives to support and improve fishing safety. We are working in partnership with National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) to improve fishing safety (see press release) and we have contributed funding for their Risk, Safety & Training Officer.

The Seafarers’ Charity sponsored the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Fisheries meeting with a focus on fishing safety. Read about the key topics discussed at the recent meeting here and watch the recording of the meeting here.

Fishing Safety Films

We are also funding a series of films called FISH SAFE to help fishers tackle key safety concerns. Watch or share the new films on The Seafarers’ Charity’s Youtube channel:

FISH SAFE - Get Ready for your under 15-metre fishing vessel inspection

FISH SAFE – Dealing with enclosed spaces on your vessel

FISH SAFE – Looking after your lifting gear

FISH SAFE – Stability basics

We support the fishing SafetyFolder and we helped to develop the Fishing First Safety Management System.

We support CHIRP Maritime’s confidential incidents reporting programme. Find out how CHIRP contributes to fishing safety here.

We also participate and support the FISH Platform which is an international network of fishing experts who are aiming to develop and improve international standards for fishing safety.

Fishing First Safety Management

Since 2021 The Seafarers’ Charity supported the development of national infrastructure to audit safety management systems onboard fishing vessels. Our project, Fishing First Safety Management Audit System, was piloted in the Southwest of England in 2022 and is now expanding to other parts of the UK.

Adopting a Safety Management System has been a game changer in protecting workers from injury and saving lives in high-risk industries. By adopting an auditable Fishing First Safety Management Audit System, owners and operators of fishing vessels have a high level of assurance that they are operating compliantly and in the best interests of their crew’s safety and welfare.

The Fishing First Safety Management Audit System uses the Fishing Safety Management Code. This film explains more about the Fishing First Safety Management Audit System and how it is improving safety in the UK fishing industry.

More information on each of our Fishing First projects is available:

Southwest England Pilot Project

The Seafarers’ Charity provided the Secretariat and support for the Fishing First Safety Management pilot project in the Southwest of England. The project tested the approach to auditing and established and trained a new network of 19 qualified lead auditors who have visited, audited and supported 50 vessels in the pilot.

Learn More

Northern Ireland Supply Chain Transparency Project

In 2023 The Fishing First Safety Management System in Northern Ireland is developing an approach to ensure supply chain transparency. Using ISM standards to audit fishing vessels enables retailers to have confidence in compliance with crew welfare, safety and health standards. The project is also developing and testing a new grievance mechanism for the industry which works for both fishing vessel crew and owners.

Learn More

FISH Platform – Raising International Fishing Safety Standards

Fishing Industry’s Safety & Health Platform, FISH Platform was formed 10 years ago by the world’s leading fishing safety experts and meets twice yearly to share expertise and knowledge.

In 2022 the focus was on Southeast Asia with the aim of identifying, supporting and collaborating with the local experts. Safety, health and welfare for the 20 million fishers in Asia are high-profile issues and FISH Platform’s objectives aim to increase participation in the region and offer an opportunity for people in the industry to come together and benefit from a growing international community of expertise in fishing safety.

International Fund for Fishing Safety IFFS

Lloyd’s Register Foundation, The Seafarers’ Charity and the Fishing Industry Safety & Health (FISH) Platform have partnered to launch a new fund aimed at raising the safety standards of the global fishing industry, with a focus on The Global South. Find out more