Planned, written risk assessments are vital to reduce the chances of incidents at sea. They are also a legal requirement. 

A risk assessment identifies dangers specific to your vessel and explores how these risks can be proactively reduced or removed, helping you to put in place measures to keep you, your crew, and your vessel safe. 

It’s important that you regularly conduct written risk assessments and go through them with your crew to ensure they understand them and keep them on board and up to date at all times.

“Prevention is better than cure and the biggest lifesaver is to stay on board the boat at all times.”

John Clark, vessel owner and skipper, Scotland.

Benefits of written risk assessments

  • It is your responsibility to take care of yourself and the safety of others.
  • The implementation of ILO 188 means that risk assessments are a legal requirement on fishing vessels of all sizes. Vessel owners must ensure that suitable and sufficient risk assessments have been carried out and are documented for all work activities on the fishing vessel.
  • Risk assessments are the best way to gain an understanding of the hazards on your vessel. The following sequence should be undertaken to assess potential hazards:
  1. Decide who might be harmed and how
  2. Evaluate the risks and identify appropriate control measures
  3. Record your findings
  4. Review your risk assessment and update it.

Top tips

  • Sign up to the Safety Folder, where you can download free risk assessment templates. 
  • Walk around your vessel, noting the risks and finding ways to mitigate them.
  • Get your crew to also contribute to the risk assessment, they may know of risks that a skipper/owner hasn’t appreciated.
  • Ensure all members of the crew are familiar with the risk assessment and are aware of the risks on board the vessel.
  • Review and update your assessment every year, every time you make any modifications to your vessel or how you and your crew work, or when you have an accident.

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What you say

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