The fishing boat is a workplace and the operator must ensure that it is safe and that it meets the hygiene requirements for the crew and other people who may be on board.

On a fishing boat, there are obvious dangers, with examples including someone falling into the sea, boat sinking or fire. It is still possible for someone to slip, stumble and fall, with more or less serious consequences. Other health issues that cause physical and mental stress can also occur, such as injuries to the lumbar region or arms and shoulders due to lifting and carrying loads, injuries due to repeated strain from squeezing or baiting work, hearing loss due to high levels of noise, stress and fatigue, etc.

Fishermen are usually well aware of these dangers, but most of the time they simply accept them as part of their job.

  • Evaluate risks and think about the potential risks and decide what measures you can take to avoid or prevent them.
  • Realize that good practices protect the health of your crew and your business. 
  • Do not sacrifice the use of safe practices on the altar of faster work on the deck of the boat.
  • Make sure the crew understands that SECURITY IS ABOVE ANYTHING ELSE!
  • Ensure the suitability of your boat

Ships are quickly damaged if not properly maintained. It is essential that you follow a strict maintenance schedule and take all appropriate control measures for issues such as water tightness and stability, protection anodes, rudder mechanism, deck water outlets, pumping / propulsion / cooling systems, seawater / level control navigation / communication systems.

  • Equip the crew with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)

Crew members must have appropriate clothing for all weather conditions and be provided with a PPE depending on the hazards and parts of the body exposed each time.

  • Regularly perform emergency exercises to deal with emergencies

In an emergency, it is important for the crew to know what to do and have the right equipment. All people aboard must have attended safety training seminars and on a regular basis emergency exercises must take place.

Prepare properly for various situations, such as:

Falling into the sea: is 25% of fishermen deaths and injuries happen due to falling into the sea for various reasons, e.g. due to bad weather conditions or because they have been hit or dragged by a tool, etc. (Source: MAIB 2016)

Make sure there are sufficient numbers and suitable personal flotation devices (PFD) for all passengers on board and that you must wear them while working on the deck.

Fire: There must be the necessary means of firefighting on board and the crew must know how to use them.

The firefighting equipment that the small boats must have according to the law is usually limited to the absolutely necessary ones. Consider the possible fire outbreak, structure and layout of your boat and decide if you wish to have additional equipment.


  • Sparks from electric switches, motors, tools and heat-sensitive materials such as lead
  • Fuel leaks on hot surfaces
  • Sparks from grinding and soldering operations
  • Electric kitchens, generators, cigarettes, matches and lighters

What is the best fire extinguisher for each case?

Burning Material
Flammable Liquids
Fires in electrical circuits
Most types of fire
Best Fire Extinguisher
Dry Powder (*)

 (*) Special fire extinguishers for fires involving metals and certain liquids

Also, the crew should be informed and aware of:

  • All fire extinguisher points on board.
  • How and when to use them.
  • The effects of fire on the stability of the boat.
  • Their role in the effort to extinguish a fire on board.

Virtual firefighting exercises should be performed regularly to ensure that everyone knows what to do.

Helicopter rescue: In case of rescue from the boat or the sea, you and the crew should know what to do and what not to do.

Boat abandonment: Do you have a lifeboat? Does the crew know how to καθαιρέσει it, put it back in place if needed, and get on it?

Serious Injuries: Make sure your crew attends first aid classes and learns how to call for medical help via wireless.