The skipper and crew of the latest addition to the Scottish fishing fleet, Benarkle II, have fully kitted themselves out with new free Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) supplied through the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation’s (SFF) successful safety initiative – and in the process have helped the scheme pass the 1,000 vessel milestone.

Under the initiative, the SFF is offering every fisherman in Scotland with the correct mandatory certification a free PFD. The take-up has been excellent with the crews of over 1,000 fishing vessels having been supplied so far.

The scheme is scheduled for completion within the next few months and fishermen who haven’t yet applied for their free PFDs are being urged to do so as soon as possible.

Derek Cardno, SFF Safety Officer, says: “Our fishermen have an incredibly challenging job in putting the seafood on our plates and every year a number of men will fall overboard. In such situations, these personal flotation devices can offer fishermen a second chance if worn.

“We have been delighted by the level of uptake of our free PFDs and the initiative has been really well received by the Scottish fishing industry. We are particularly pleased at the high proportion of fishermen that have received a free PFD who have also opted for free instruction on their use. As well as the important practical aspect, we have found that this has helped to stimulate conversations amongst fishing crews on safety at sea.

“However, there are still a number of vessels who have yet to apply and it is vital that they get their applications in as soon as possible. Skippers who still haven’t applied can do so by following the links on the SFF website, or they can phone the SFF office for more information.”

The PFD scheme is funded by the European Fisheries Fund and Scottish Government, the Scottish Fishermen’s Trust and the UK Fisheries Offshore Oil and Gas Legacy Trust Fund.