Safety focus on the health and fitness of seafarers

Commercial fishing and other maritime work is inherently dangerous. In fact, commercial fishing is America’s most dangerous industry. When seafarers board their vessels and navigate machinery in uncertain weather conditions in open water, they require every possible safety precaution in order to prevent maritime injuries and wrongful death. One key precautionary measure is too often overlooked.

Seafarers spend a considerable amount of time ensuring that their vessels and equipment are properly maintained. They ensure that they are adequately trained in their jobs and in safety procedures. But mounting evidence suggests that maritime workers and their employers do not spend enough time or resources ensuring that anyone operating a seafaring vessel is fit and healthy.

In an effort to address this critical safety issue, a new website called Training on Board was recently created and launched. Its aim is to educate seafarers on the link between physical health and safety. In particular, the site emphasizes good nutrition and physical training as a way to combat fatigue and other health-related safety concerns.

To foster the spirit of friendly competition that often exists on maritime vessels, the site allows workers to record their workouts either individually or in competition with other crews. By tapping into the very mental strength and commitment that makes maritime workers who they are, this initiative aims to aid them in improving their fitness and overall health.

Like firefighters, law enforcement, forestry workers and military service members, the safety of maritime workers largely depends on their levels of physical fitness. This new site will hopefully inspire both maritime employers and employees to spend valuable time and resources ensuring the health of those who daily risk life and limb out on the water.

Source: Marine Insight, “New Initiative to Improve the Fitness of Seafarers,” Feb. 12, 2013

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