Fishing Safety Success Story: The More You Wear It, The Better Off You Are

Fishing Safety Success Story: The More You Wear It, The Better Off You Are


I loved being
out on the water, I love the feeling of it. Everything just kind of came naturally to me. We were heading out to set a load of gear, which consisted, on our boat, of a hundred
traps. It was my son, Tyler, and myself. We just got out there and we hadn’t even put
a single trap in yet. We dropped the tailgate at the back of the boat. I put the first drop
down, it goes out nice and easy. Then after that, the rope snagged the second trap in
the set. It bumped into me while I was there. I lost my balance, so instead of fighting
it I just jumped in. It’s very hard for me to see with the amount of traps that are stacked
up on the boat, and I didn’t realize he had gone over until I didn’t see his head pop
back up. So I ran back, and that’s when I discovered he was floating in the water. Very
lucky that I had my flotation device on. I was able to stay afloat. My father was able
to kick the boat into reverse, and I was able to grab the chain along the side of the boat.
When I was in the water, I really wasn’t thinking about much. It was just more I can breathe,
and the next step was getting out. When I finally was able to get back to Tyler, I was
able to pick him up physically. I reached down and grabbed Tyler out of the water. The first thing I guess that went through my head is I’m still here, I’m not one of those statistics.
After that we just set the gear out and just went home. I think both of us were really
in shock, we were both shaking. Never had a man go overboard, and to have one go over,
have it be my son, that was a little scary. A week earlier we had just taken a safety
survival training course about exactly the same situation that might occur. They taught
a lot of great skills there. The next day we went out, grabbed a PFD, grabbed the personal
EPIRB, and I started wearing that full time. It wasn’t a hassle whatsoever. It just feels
natural while I’m wearing it. That day, I did reach out to the trainers from the Gloucester
Fishermen’s Wives Association and I had to tell them the success story. Any time that
we’re bringing a load of gear anywhere, I make the crew wear a PFD. Tyler was wearing
a life jacket, thank goodness for that. I’m glad that he was doing that. I would say that
that saved his life. The more you wear it, the better off you are. The more you wear
it, the less you will realize you’re wearing it. So please wear them. Don’t be stuck in
your ways. Always be open to new things, especially PFDs. A little bit of being uncomfortable
isn’t the end of the world, but falling overboard without one could be.

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