Guidance on reducing the risk of collisions with fishing vessels

Reducing the risk of collisions with fishing vessels
Reducing the risk of collisions with fishing vessels

Close quarter situations with fishing vessels and/or their associated fishing gear remain common. This often results in loss of life, in addition to any damage to fishing gear or boats.

Although the COLREGS should technically apply to all vessels of all Member States, they are very often overlooked or ignored. On small vessels in some regions of the world, it is common to have an unqualified skipper and crew who know little about safe navigation. Remember, many of these fishermen are poor, ill-educated and desperate to make a living. Safety is often a secondary concern.

The cargo vessels may encounter a number of unlit or poorly lit small vessels, with no radar reflectors, no lookout, gear stretching out to an unknown distance and unknown direction and working close to or within the confines of a channel or harbour approach.

The range of equipment that fishermen deploy to catch fish is almost as varied as the fish themselves, but there are a number of common fishing methods that are used and these methods will be explained, together with the lights and shapes that
should be exhibited, the likely position of the gear in relation to the boat and typical fishing maneuvers to be expected.
During the Passage Planning process, it may be worth contacting the vessel’s local agent or the local harbourmaster to enquire whether there are any particular fishing-related dangers to be considered when approaching a particular region or port. During calm weather, extra vigilance is required as this is the time when many small fishing vessels will go to sea.

UK P&I club has put together an informative guide for Masters and their bridge teams on how to reduce the risk of collisions with fishing vessels.

Download the guidance:Reducing the risk of collisions with fishing vessels

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