“Does anyone know where the love of God goes, when the waves turn the minutes to hours?”
This poignant line from the Gordon Lightfoot song Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, sums up the reason that Canadian Coast Guard and Search and Rescue personnel go to work every day.
On the east coast of Canada, from the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, to the rugged coast of Labrador, to the tidal waters of the Bay of Fundy and throughout the Gulf of St. Lawrence, these men and women have provided ...
Gangways: Simple Safety
The topic of gangways causes me to reflect over the past 30 years, and for that matter all my life, of all the time I have spent on and around wharves and boats and how often I have risked my life trying to get aboard a vessel. Everyone involved in the marine industry can relate to this topic and can visualize what I am talking about.
Boarding a vessel is always a risk, particularly smaller vessels in the 35’ to 65’ category. The boat is rarely perfectly positioned to enable easy access ...
EPIRBs Should be Essential Equipment Aboard Fishing Vessels
Time is of the essence when a person goes overboard and a vessel or fisherman carrying an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon), which has been registered with the rescue coordination centre in Halifax, could mean the difference between life and death.
This was clearly shown on Nov. 30, 2015, 23 nautical miles from Clark’s Harbour, Nova Scotia.
On that date, a crewman aboard the Cock-a-Wit Lady fell overboard.
This was dumping day for the LFA 34 lobster fishery, with ...
Safety – Everybody’s Job
Safety in the fishing industry is different than in other industries.
Statistically, fishing is still the most dangerous occupation in the country outside the military and policing. We lose, on average, nearly a dozen fishermen every year. That high number is due in part to the fact that some accidents at sea cause multiple deaths, especially in these days of larger boats.
While no two fatal accidents are alike in the inshore fishing industry, there are often similarities. I once wrote ...
Safe Work Practices a Must, According to Transportation Safety Board
A lot of ship-board accidents, including people falling overboard, could be prevented if safe work practices were in force.
According to the Transportation Safety Board (TSB), regulations place the responsibility on the authorized representative to develop procedures for the safe operation of the vessel.
“The resulting safe work practices help ensure that masters and crew members have the knowledge, as well as the necessary information to make sound decisions in any operating conditio...
Incentives, Risks and Safety
Safety is a big concern in the fishery, as this issue of The Navigator illustrates.
Fishing is widely reputed to be the most dangerous occupation in the world. There are certainly long histories and many stories of tragic losses of vessels and crews. And the danger is probably a big part of the reason reality TV shows like The Deadliest Catch and Coldwater Cowboys attract substantial audiences.
So why are people willing to fish for a living, despite the dangers?
Essentially, people ...
It’s Not What They Say: Atlantic Quest I
Helping people in distress is something that goes back three generations in Shawn Tracey’s family.
His grandfather was the lighthouse keeper on the Strait of Belle Isle and his father was a radio operator for 35 years.
“That’s where my parents met in the late 50s,” says Tracey and the rest is family history.
Tracey is 53 years old and originally from Stephenville. He has worked with the Canadian Coast Guard’s Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) since September ...
PFDs: Pure Idiocy Not to Wear Them
I have a lot of photographs of vessels leaving port on the annual ‘dumping day’ in south west Nova Scotia’s winter lobster fishing season.
There is always one thing that stands clear — fishing boats are heavily laden with lobster gear, there are usually three or four men aboard and in recent years the stern has a ramp instead of a rail — it’s wide open.
A crewman aboard one of the vessels in my collection, when discussing ship-board accidents, stated that the issue wasn’t if ...
25 Seconds: The M/V Flare
It was only 25 seconds of time, but it will stay with Ann-Margret White forever.
White is 49 years old and from Corner Brook. She graduated University with a double degree in French and German. She started her career teaching high school French, waiting for full time employment, when her mother saw an ad in a local newspaper.
“This might be a job for you,” her mother said, “it’s a radio operator with Coast Guard and you need Grade 12 and French.”
Today she’s the Regional ...
Improving Maintenance, Improves Safety
Safety first is a term you hear often, but is not always practiced.
Although most vessel owners have safety at the forefront of their thoughts when operating their vessel, “there is always room for improvement,” as the saying goes.
One way to improve safety is to practice good preventative maintenance, to ensure your vessel is well-prepared for the season or the trip ahead.
There is often reluctance to invest into maintenance when there may not be any apparent reason to spend the ...