An understanding of the stability of your fishing vessel will help to keep you and your crew safe. Capsizing due to insufficient stability is a major cause of fatalities for fishing vessels under 24m in length, and especially those under 15m. The main causes are:
Vessel stability is complex and influenced by different factors, so it changes continuously both when at sea and throughout the vessel’s lifetime.
There are new stability requirements for fishing vessels under 15m as part of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s Code of Practice for the Safety of Small Fishing Vessels. A record of your vessel’s stability is required to receive your fishing vessel certificate – without it, your license is at risk. Therefore, it’s worth knowing your limits and assessing your vessel’s stability before the safety inspection.
You can check the stability of your vessel by doing a roll test and an offset load test. These tests are simple to do; watch the videos below to see how.
A way to measure the stability of a vessel, by inducing a roll and then measuring the amount of time it takes to complete a roll period.
A measurement of how far the vessel heels when an induced load is added to one side of the vessel.
We advise anyone working on a fishing vessel to understand the principles of stability, what causes instability and how to fix it.
There are beginner, intermediate and advanced courses available. The intermediate and advanced courses are a requirement for the Under 16.5m Skippers Certificate.
More information on the courses including whether you may be available for funding to cover the cost are available via Seafish.
Know your limits. Check the stability of your vessel.