Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

High-tech clothing for fishermen improves safety

Working on a fishing boat is considered to be one of the most dangerous occupations in the world. A research consortium has developed new high-performance clothing for fishermen that will prevent injuries and improve safety.
High-tech clothing for fishermen improves safety
Work as a fisherman entails heavy labour, long hours and a hazardous working environment; accidents such as falling overboard, getting entangled and being hit by flying objects are common. And, although most deaths occur by drowning, many fishermen do not wear buoyancy aids because they are uncomfortable or bulky.

Against this backdrop of work-related risks, the EU-funded 'Protective clothing for improved safety and performance in the fisheries' (SAFE@SEA) project aimed to develop and test fully functional protective gear that would provide added occupational safety without compromising comfort and agility. Several companies and research institutions contributed expertise and resources to this project.

SAFE@SEA developed a range of clothing items: jackets, pants, bibs, gloves and head protection. All items were made of self-healing, damage-resistant and waterproof fabric. Each item was also engineered for improved ergonomics and protection against specific occupational hazards, like cut-resistant gloves and shock-absorbing headgear.

In addition, the garments incorporate a buoyancy aid (inflatable), man-overboard alarm, emergency light, and a GPS and radio unit. All of these are switched on automatically when submerged, and will allow the ship to find any person that has fallen overboard by GPS tracking and improved visibility.

The garments have been comprehensively tested by fishermen, who all report improved comfort and work economy. The SAFE@SEA items thus represent an important step forward in the safety of fishermen, and may even be applicable to other hazardous industries. Watch the project’s video and another video here.

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