Local fisherman Paraic Breathnach from Carna in Galway was one of five crew that survived the Iúda Naofa accident off the Scottish coast in January 2015. Following his terrifying ordeal, Paraic is supporting the Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) ‘Live to Tell the Tale’ safety at sea awareness campaign in order to encourage more fishermen to complete mandatory BIM safety survival training and wear their personal flotation device (PFD) lifejacket at all times when at sea.
BIM provide an extensive training programme including mandatory safety training to all fishermen at their National Fisheries Colleges in Greencastle, Co. Donegal and Castletownbere, Co. Cork and on two mobile Coastal Training Units that visit every port in the country. BIM also provide grant-aid towards the latest Personal Flotation Device with integrated Personal Locator Beacons and safety equipment for fishing vessels. However, despite this, over half of fishermen still do not wear a PFD lifejacket even though according to BIM commissioned research, 52% of fishermen personally know a family member, friend or colleague that has lost their life at sea.
Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) CEO Tara McCarthy said: “We are delighted to be here today at the Skipper Expo International that attracts fishermen from around the country to build on the success of the BIM ‘Live to Tell the Tale’ advertising campaign. We are pleased to report that our initial post campaign research is very positive with 77% of fishermen surveyed recalling having seen or heard the campaign advertisements and the radio ad featuring fisherman David Massey having a significant resonance with 71% of fisherman recalling the ad. We need to build on this success and continue to promote the importance of staying safe at sea. If the construction and farming sectors have made significant changes in order to implement a safety culture, it is imperative on the fishing industry to do the same. We are very grateful to fishermen David Massey, Gerard Copeland and Paraic Breathnach for their support for the campaign and for bravely telling their own accounts of survival. BIM will continue to provide vital safety training supports to fishermen around our coast”
On the 20th January 2015, Paraic Breathnach along with Martín Ó’Conghaíle, the Skipper of the 23 metre Iúda Naofa vessel and crew members Eric Hernon and Vitor Lebit set off from Rossaveal in Galway. Speaking at the annual Skipper Expo International trade show sponsored by BIM today in Salthill, Galway, Padraic recalls the incident; “We were returning to Derry with a successful mackerel haul. There were gale force winds and the vessel ran into difficulty. She was taking on water so we radioed to Malin Head for a helicopter to come with a pump. Thanks to our BIM Sea Survival Training, instinct kicked in. We stayed in the wheelhouse waiting for the helicopter to arrive. She was coping ok but still taking on water. The helicopter arrived with the pump but we couldn’t keep the water out. She started to list. I ended up in the water and was almost immediately lifted out by the helicopter.”
“I would encourage anyone working at sea to make sure they have done the relevant safety training and to make sure they wear a PFD lifejacket. Both will give you those extra valuable seconds to ensure you Live to Tell the Tale”
BIM’s Enhanced Safety Scheme provides grant-aid for the compact Personal Flotation Device (PFD) lifejacket with an integrated Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) to alert the emergency services to the exact location of a fisherman lost at sea. The PFD which activates in the water means fishermen can be found swiftly in the event of an accident and hopefully found alive. Traditional life jackets don’t use this technology meaning searches at sea can last days longer than is necessary adding to the anxiety felt by families of fishermen.
BIM are screening a ‘Live to Tell the Tale’ short film at the Skipper Expo International trade show that takes places in the Galway Bay Hotel, Salthill on the 4th and 5th March. The film features accounts from fisherman Gerard Copeland who survived an accident off the Wicklow coast in April last year and Caitlin Ui Aodha who lost her husband in the Tit Bonhomme tragedy in 2012. Watch the film
Get further safety at sea tips and hear more stories of fishermen who lived to tell the tale or join in the conservation on twitter @BordIascMhara hashtag #livetotell