The Seafarers’ Charity is coordinating the Fishing First Safety Management project delivered by the SafetyFolder. The SafetyFolder is a free online safety management system for fishing vessels used by many fishing vessels in the UK.

This new project will develop the infrastructure or a fully auditable safety management system with the aim of improving safety in the UK fishing fleet as well as increase supply chain transparency

The project is funded by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), Fisheries and Seafood Scheme & Trinity House Department for Transport Maritime Safety Fund. It is fully supported by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) which regulates and certifies UK fishing vessels.

This short film is an introduction to the project from some of the people involved in its delivery

What we are doing

The Seafarers’ Charity is supporting the Fishing First Safety Management project which is initially being piloted in the Southwest of England, in order to test the approach and learn lessons, prior to rolling out the Safety Management System more widely.

Our role involves project management, stakeholder management, communications and facilitating collaboration and engagement. We also provide the secretariat for an industry steering group that has been established. The Steering Group is chaired by The Nautical Institute and includes membership from the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, Scottish Fishing Federation, Welsh Fisherman’s Association, Seafish, Maritime Coastguards Agency and representatives from the catch and retail sectors.

In this article from the December 2021 edition of The Nautical Institute’s Seaways journal, Captain Jeff Parfitt, Head of Safety & Environment at The Nautical Institute explains why they are supporting this project.

Fishing First Safety Management System

50 fishing vessels are taking part in the project. They will receive professional support to develop their own bespoke safety management practices. Once completed, vessel owners can demonstrate compliance with ILO 188C Work In Fishing Convention by meeting the requirements of the Fishing Safety Management Code (MGN 596F). The 50 fishing vessels are based throughout the Southwest and are a range of different sizes and types.


Adopting a Safety Management System has been a game changer in protecting workers from injury and saving lives in high-risk industries. By adopting the new auditable Fishing Safety Management System, operators are documenting all of their safety and welfare activity and have peace of mind that they are compliant with regulations. Documentation is to the standard of the Fishing Safety Management Code and is designed to avoid duplication with the MCA’s Surveys and Inspections, therefore simplifying compliance with legislation.

Improving safety management doesn't have to cost more. For most vessels it is just about being more organised and introducing a whole system approach, to be able to evidence with confidence how it is that a vessel is kept safe. The Fishing First Safety Management service provides a team of Advisors, Consultants and Auditors who can give the necessary support to develop a practical and easy to understand bespoke safety management system for each fishing vessel.

Good for safety and good for business

Both consumers and the wider seafood industry have a growing interest in sustainability, ethical issues and transparency of how and where seafood is caught. Operators adopting the Fishing First Safety Management System will be able to demonstrate supply chain transparency and develop the potential to add value to their business as a producer of high-quality UK seafood.

And good for saving lives

Reducing risk is especially critical on fishing vessels with 100 times the risk of death compared to the average UK worker (MAIB). The Seafarers’ Charity is improving the lives of seafarers every day and a big part of that is making sure fishers can work and return home safely from voyages without experiencing harm or accident.

The Safety Folder

All UK fishers can sign up for free to use the SafetyFolder

Visit the Safety Folder website

A free service for fishing vessel owners to manage your health and safety needs.

Read our press release

The Seafarers' Charity reports 50 Vessels join the Fishing First Safety Management Project to improve safety and supply chain transparency.