Saving lives and reducing injuries is the goal of fishing safety grants available to non-profit groups, municipalities, academics and businesses involved in the fishing and maritime industries.
The Fishing Safety Research Grant Program was funded in 2010 as part of the Coast Guard Reauthorization Act. The money is finally ready to be used.
“These are moneys that came to the USCG first and we are partnering with them to administer these important safety training and research grants. So this is the first time that these have been available.”
Jennifer Lincoln is co-director of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health’s Maritime Center for Safety and Health Studies.
The grants will provide up to 75 percent of the costs and range from $250,000-$650,000 per grant over two years.
Academics and nonprofits already involved in research and training are likely applicants, but communities and businesses also are encouraged.
“They could partner with a training organization to offer training for fishermen in their particular area. There are also small business grants that include things like developing new technologies for industry. So it’s those types of ideas that I would potentially expect from municipalities or businesses.”
Different fishing fleets have different hazards. Proposals can be targeted to what works best for a particular fishery, gear group or region.
“Let’s say there is a group of fishermen who want to focus on a particular issue in their fleet, whether it’s some sort of fatigue related issue for their particular operation. We could expect something from fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico that could be related to getting out of the heat, having gear that is cooler but still protective. Other ideas would include if you want to improve a piece of deck equipment that is particular for a fleet. Perhaps catcher processors or the head and gut fleet might want to focus on ergonomic issues and improved processes on their vessels.”
Lincoln says ideas continue to evolve on improving safety equipment such as PFDs and she expects some grants will target vessel stability training. Another potential – exploring hearing protections for fishermen.
“I’m extremely excited that we have this opportunity and to see what kinds of smart ideas come from these various proposals.”