Lifejackets for Lobstermen van to visit Midcoast

May 06, 2019
The Lifejackets for Lobstermen project will visit area towns this week and next.

A group seeking to promote the use of life jackets among lobstermen will visit several Knox County fishing towns during the weeks of May 6 and May 13.

Researchers at the Northeast Center for Occupational Health and Safety: Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing have been working with lobstermen in Maine and Massachusetts over the past few years to understand why life jacket use has been relatively uncommon among fishermen in this fishery sector. One result has been the "Lifejackets for Lobstermen" campaign.

The vans will make local stops at the following places. All stops will begin at 10 a.m.

May 8, Olsen's Wharf, Pleasant Point Gut, Cushing, 10 a.m.

May 9, Simmons Wharf, Friendship,

May 10 and May 13, Tenants Harbor Co-op, Port Clyde

May 14, Atwood Lobster, Spruce Head

May 15, Public landing next to Ship to Shore Lobster, Owls Head

May 16, Rockland Fish Pier

According to the project’s coordinator, Rebecca Weil, the campaign launched in April and will address the barriers that lobstermen have experienced when considering life jackets. To provide access to easy and affordable options, Weil said, the campaign will feature two life jacket vans that will drive to ports in Maine and Massachusetts. The vans will provide life jackets at a one-time discount and will allow fishermen to try them on, get information about the various choices available and learn about additional technology that can improve fishermen’s chances of recovery and survival in the event of a fall overboard.

Over the next few months, the research group and its partners hope to make life jacket use the norm in the lobster fishing community. If the vans prove successful, NEC researchers plan to work with local partners, community members, retailers and fishing groups to develop a transition plan that will ensure the sustainability of the program through local ownership. Most importantly, it hopes to improve fishermen’s chances of survival and markedly reduce fatalities in the lobster fishing industry in the coming years.

For more information, visit the project Facebook page for updates facebook.com/LifejacketsforLobstermen or contact project staff via email at LifejacketProject@bassett.org.

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