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Alaska leads the world in sustainable fisheries management. It’s even written in the state constitution. Learn more about Alaska’s fisheries from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute at www.alaskaseafood.org.
One of the most dangerous things on a fishing boat is the most common piece of equipment: the capstan, or rotating, winch for winding ropes.
Cut; It will not stop. The guys call it the most powerful thing on the boat. 11
Ted Teske is a Health Communications Specialist with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. NIOSH research shows that a high number of traumatic fishing injuries come from getting entangled in the winch, especially on seine vessels.
Cut; Because if that thing gets a hold of you when you’re pursing a line or moving a line or doing anything, it won’t let go and it will end up tearing your arm off or breaking your neck or something of that nature. 5
If a fisherman gets pulled into the winch, he gets pulled away from the controls to stop it, which are mounted on the back of the wheelhouse. Unless someone is there to stop the winch right way, it will spin several times before stopping. Teske helped develop a simple device called an E-Stop, or emergency stop, that stops the capstan winch from spinning.
Cut: So we developed a button that interrupts the flow of hydraulic fluid to the winch and locks it in place. And we decided to mount it right on top of the winch horns, so as you’re pulled into the winch it’s right there in front of you like a game show buzzer and you can slap that and it lock the winch in place. So you’re still wrapped up, but you’re not going round and round multiple times, and crewmembers can come and reset the system and back the winch off easily to get you untangled. 7
Teske says E-Stops come in an easy to install kit –
Cut; The company provides you with all the materials you need, custom button, templates and the cutting heads to cut through the winch horn, and they even supply the hydraulic valve to help stop the flow of the fluid. 9
Right now NIOSH is focusing on seiners, but E-Stops can be used on any vessels.
Cut; We’re hoping to expand to other fisheries as well – it can stop not just a winch, but any kind of hydraulically run equipment – so if you’re on a crabber or a trawler that has a piece of hydraulic equipment that you think needs an E-Stop you can adapt it to that as well. 13
E-Stop kits cost about $2,850 and right now can be purchased on line only at www.go2marine.com . Teske hopes to have E-Stops available in fishing ports. Call the NIOSH office in Anchorage for more information.
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, celebrating 100 years of partnership with Alaska’s coastal communities. www.oceanbeauty.com In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.