Small boat fishermen are among the most vulnerable seafarers in the world. Their profession is fraught with risks and dangers from working in a natural environment that has the potential to turn hostile anytime. Death at sea does not come as a surprise and is hence accepted as part of this hazardous profession.
Traditional survival and emergency response knowledge has been rendered obsolete with the introduction of modern technologies like engines into the small scale fishery. Small boat fishermen now go greater distances from the shore, fish in isolation and take far greater risks.
Working in this hostile, natural environment can be made safer by equipping fishermen with the know-how and equipment for survival at sea during emergencies like stranding and capsize.
Community based search and rescue systems must be evolved from the seafaring experience of fishermen and their intimate knowledge of the coast thereby reducing dependency on the Navy and the Coast Guard who have other priorities as well.
Accidents at sea must be studied and analysed to gain insights into the risks and dangers faced by fishermen.
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