Hazards and Procedures

Table of contents

Never been more important!

Rope entanglement while setting cray pots results in person overboard.

In 2022, two crewmembers were setting cray pots on the port and starboard side of a fishing vessel.

During one setting, the crewmember’s foot (on the port side) became entangled in the cray pot’s rope dragging them over the side. The second crewmember raised the alarm, and the master immediately stopped the vessel and instructed the crewmember to attach the line to the pot winch.

The master and crewmember, having conducted regular emergency procedure drills, quickly raised the person overboard (PoB) via the pot winch, deployed the overboard ladder, and cut the rope. The PoB sustained some water in the lungs but was otherwise unharmed.

Here are AMSA’s findings:

The investigation identified the following contributory factors:

The master and crew had identified the person overboard hazards and accompanying risks. They had assessed the risks and included within their safety management system emergency procedures for different scenarios of person overboard.

The crew conducted regular person overboard emergency drills during the season, including actions on when a person went overboard due to rope entanglement during pot setting. They had a knife stored next to the pot winch for emergency use and a person overboard ladder stored close by and readily accessible.

How lucky for both the POB, the crew, Master and the business!  Was it luck, or was it an example of what a responsible commercial marine business combined with receptive crew successfully saved a life!

Here are Shorlink, we have seen this many times and these are the factors that contributed to the above:

SMS being compliant AND updated

The importance of ensuring your SMS is updated with not only everyday details like dp, adp, etc, the policies and procedures are reflective exactly of your vessel and business requirements.

SMS Crew Induction

These are often overlooked and not closely monitored by either the Master and/or business owners.  You need to ensure that not only are the crew reading and understanding the SMS, especially the policies and procedures – that they adhere to them at all times.


This is another vital element of owning a commercial vessel – is ensuring all crew onboard are well trained in all facets of not only the running of the vessel, but what to do in an emergency.


As per our post last week, reporting incidents both internally and to AMSA are extremely vital in ensuring the procedures have been followed correctly including rescue and after care.

On this occasion above, the hazard situation was readily identified by the master and crew as a real possibility given the nature of their pot setting tasks. They assessed the risks and how to minimise them, agreed the appropriate crew numbers for the vessel operation and updated the vessel’s safety management system’s emergency preparedness procedures. Because the emergency procedures had been regularly drilled, the crew were experienced, wearing lifejackets and the person overboard was saved quickly and was relatively unharmed.

Please ensure you can say the same, for all commercial vessel owners, not just fisherman!

Shorlink’s Recommendation

Check your SMS today and look at your procedures especially – do they accurately reflect what should be followed for your vessel specifically?

Crew Induction and Training Documentation – check whether these have been completed correctly and regularly.  This is a legal requirement and could provide you with legal protection required in can of an incident.


 If any of the above is concerning, please contact our office immediately.  We are happy to look at your SMS and discuss with you and requirements/amendments, if any may be required.

Regarding training, we are seeing more and more clients engaging Shorlink to completely manage their training requirements for their business. We make sure that not only are the crew training correctly, but we also ensure the forms that are required under Schedule 1 of Marine Order 504 and NSCV are completed correctly and submitted to your business.

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