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Tri-County Vanguard - 2021-11-24

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“The vast majority of incidents happen opening day or the day after. The most dangerous time is when the boats are loaded with traps.” The standard practice for the additional SAR resources deployment is opening day and the first day of hauling, Waller says. “The message we like to get out to people on the water is safety is the top priority. It's important to remember they have a shared responsibility for their safety on the water,” he says. “We're going to be there. We're going to do everything we can to protect them, but they have a role to play too. I encourage people to make sure their EPIRBS are registered, and they are carrying all the appropriate safety equipment on board. If they do their part, it helps us out immensely.” In the weeks leading up to the season start, Fish Safe N.S. has been busy doing wharf visits and safety talks, man overboard drills and handing out resources to fishermen throughout the region. “Overall, this year from mid-September to date, we've visited 71 wharves between LFAs 33, 34 and 35,” says Matthew Duffy, executive director of Fish Safe NS. “Essentially, we've been going around handing out the new 2021 wheelhouse logbook and handing out lots of other resources. We have some new navigational safety resources and more to come that are currently at the printer,” he says. “We've also been fortunate enough to hand out some safety equipment to folks who interacted with us,” he adds, such as first aid kits, rescue throw bags, and a couple of PFDs. Duffy says the association gets out to connect with the industry while letting them know Fish Safe NS is a resource. It also wants to help its members with regulations from Transport Canada, the Department of Labour, or any other governing body that deals with safety. “Part of what we do is make sure people know we're not the government,” he says. “We met a lot of new faces on the wharves this year, established new connections, and a lot of great conversations went along with that,” says Duffy. Duffy says the conversations can get pretty in-depth about what is required onboard vessels and what captains should be doing to help ensure the crew's safety. “If we can help prevent one injury, one death, that's what makes it all worthwhile,” Duffy says. “I think the industry understands that and accepts that as a serious topic. They take it quite seriously.”

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