This project will increase the train the trainer and commercial fishing safety workshop efforts of the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA). AMSEA's goal is to continue to build a network of port-based fishing safety instructors around Alaska and the U.S. as it has for the last 25 years. The goal is for fishermen to have credible fishing safety instructors from the fishing industry who know the local area and local fishery risks. The relevance of this project to public health in the workplace is severe. Commercial fishing still suffers from the highest occupational fatality rate of any major occupation in the U.S. despite decreases in the last 20 years. Recent Federal training requirements will also increase the amount of safety training needed by operators of fishing vessels. Refresher safety training of fishermen will also be required. Large areas of the nation still lack training infrastructure to deliver safety training relevant to the fishing industry and to meet new mandates. New trainers take a Coast Guard- accepted intensive 48 hour Marine Safety Instructor- Training (MSIT) course that provides practice in marine safety equipment and procedures, methods of instruction and how to reduce risks in training and fisheries. These instructors then co-teach commercial fishermen with experienced AMSEA Training Coordinators and they are mentored until they are effective. AMSEA staff provides their time, training equipment and new teaching resources at no cost to these new instructors. Central to these training efforts is the emphasis on performance-based, hands on training. Fishermen need to complete an assessment in skills, like immersion suit donning in a timed interval, stating an emergency radio message, righting and entering a life raft in the water and other skills which casualty reports have stated were not performed correctly and resulted in fatalities. About 50% of this training effort will take place outside Alaska on all coasts of the U.S. These short one to two day workshops in Emergency Drill Conductor, Cold Water Survival, Stability/Flooding Control, etc. will help fishermen meet the new requirements and provide much needed emergency skills to thousands of fishermen in scores of far flung ports in the U.S.
This project has critical relevance to public health in the particular area of occupational safety. Commercial fishing is the most hazardous occupation in the U.S, with poorly enforceable and minimal training requirements, while at the same time there are no training qualifications of any kind for a crew member or an owner operator. This project would enable compliance with new safety training regulations by bringing performance based safety skills training to distant ports around Alaska and throughout the U.S. by training a qualified network of community based marine safety instructors.