TSB recommendations on commercial fishing safety since 1992

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By October 2018, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) had made 48 recommendations to address safety deficiencies that posed significant risks to fish harvesters and their operations.

Under the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act, federal ministers must formally respond to TSB recommendations within 90 days and explain how they have addressed or will address the safety deficiencies. The Act does not require other stakeholders to respond to the TSB’s recommendations, but they usually do.

Using the Assessment Rating Guide, the Board periodically assesses responses to recommendations according to the extent to which the safety deficiency has been or is being addressed. Once recommendations have been assessed as Fully Satisfactory, they are closed.

The TSB continually monitors the progress being made on its recommendations. On 1 October 2018, thirteen recommendations on commercial fishing safety were still outstanding.

Active Recommendations

Number Recommendation Source report Current Assessment
M17-04 The government of New Brunswick and WorkSafeNB require persons to wear suitable personal flotation devices at all times when on the deck of a commercial fishing vessel or on board a commercial fishing vessel without a deck or deck structure and that WorkSafeNB ensure that programs are developed to confirm compliance. M16A0140 Satisfactory in part
M16-05 The Department of Transport require persons to wear suitable personal flotation devices at all times when on the deck of a commercial fishing vessel or when on board a commercial fishing vessel without a deck or deck structure and that the Department of Transport ensure programs are developed to confirm compliance. M15P0286 Satisfactory intent
M16-04 WorkSafeBC require persons to wear suitable personal flotation devices at all times when on the deck of a commercial fishing vessel or when on board a commercial fishing vessel without a deck or deck structure and that WorkSafeBC ensure programs are developed to confirm compliance. M15P0286 Satisfactory intent
M16-03 The Department of Transport require that all small fishing vessels undergo a stability assessment and establish standards to ensure that the stability information is adequate and readily available to the crew. M15P0286 Unsatisfactory intent
M16-02 The Department of Transport establish standards for all small fishing vessels that have had a stability assessment to ensure their stability information is adequate and readily available to the crew. M15P0286 Satisfactory intent
M16-01 The Department of Transport establish standards for all new and existing large fishing vessels to ensure that the stability information is adequate and readily available to the crew. M15P0286 Satisfactory intent
M08-04 The Department of Transport include in the proposed Fishing Vessel Safety Regulations adequate measures to ensure that all fishing vessels operating in ice-including those participating in the seal hunt-are structurally suited for their operating environment.  M08M0010 Unsatisfactory
M03-07 The Department of Transport, in collaboration with the fishing community, reduce unsafe practices by means of a code of best practices for small fishing vessels, including loading and stability, and that its adoption be encouraged through effective education and awareness programs.  M02W0147 Satisfactory in part
M00-09 The Department of Transport require small fishing vessels engaging in coastal voyages to carry an emergency position indicating radio beacon or other appropriate equipment that floats free, automatically activates, alerts the search and rescue system, and provides position updates and homing-in capabilities.  M98L0149 Satisfactory intent
M99-02 The provinces review their workplace legislation with a view to presenting it in a manner that will be readily understood by those to whom it applies, to help ensure that the enforcement mechanism and the regulatory regime complement each other. M96M0144 Satisfactory in part
M94-33 The Department of Transport establish guidelines for stability booklets so that the information they contain is presented in a simple, clear and practicable format for end-users.  M90L3033 Satisfactory in part
M94-06 The Department of Transport require the installation of water level detectors in all compartments below the waterline on large fishing vessels. M90L3034 Unsatisfactory
M92-07 The Department of Transport expedite its revision of the Small Fishing Vessel Safety Regulations which will require the carriage of anti-exposure worksuits or survival suits by fishermen. M90N5017 Satisfactory in part

Closed Recommendations

Number Recommendation Source report Current Assessment
M08-05 The Department of Fisheries and Oceans develops comprehensive safe towing policies, procedures, and practices that take into account all safety risks associated with towing small vessels in ice-infested waters.  M08M0010 Fully satisfactory
M05-04 The Department of Transport ensure that the Board’s previous recommendations M03-05 and M03-06 are immediately implemented. M04N0086 Fully satisfactory
M03-06 The Department of Transport require all existing inspected small fishing vessels currently without any approved stability data be subjected to a roll period test and a corresponding freeboard verification not later than their next scheduled quadrennial inspection.  M02W0147 Fully satisfactory
M03-05 The Department of Transport require all new inspected small fishing vessels of closed construction to submit stability data for approval.  M02W0147 Fully satisfactory
M03-02 Transport Canada, in coordination with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, fisher associations and training institutions, develop a national strategy for establishing, maintaining and promoting a safety culture within the fishing industry.  M01L0112 Fully satisfactory
M00-08 The Department of Transport examine the effectiveness of life raft automatic release mechanisms to prevent premature activation of these mechanisms on small fishing vessels in rough sea conditions. M98L0149 Fully satisfactory
M00-07 The Department of Transport alert builders and owners of fishing vessels to the need for the liferafts on all vessels to be stowed with a launching system fitted with a release mechanism that allows the inflatable liferaft to be easily released when the vessels sinks. M98L0149 Fully satisfactory
M00-06 The fishing industry and the Department of Transport give increased attention to small fishing vessel hatch covers to help ensure that these covers are watertight and can be effectively secured.  M98L0149 Fully satisfactory
M99-01 The Department of Transport coordinate with appropriate provincial authorities to conduct a review of existing safety regulations administered by both levels of government to help ensure that the regulatory provisions pertaining to workplace safety on fishing vessels and overall operational safety are harmonized and enforced to achieve their intended objectives.  M96M0144 Fully satisfactory
M97-03 The Department of Transport explore programs that would encourage owners/operators to acquire appropriate replacement liferafts prior to the established deadlines. M95W0013 Satisfactory intent
M97-02 The Department of Transport set deadlines for the mandatory replacement of all liferafts failing to meet current standards. M95W0013 Satisfactory intent
M97-01 The Department of Transport implement procedures to verify that liferafts on all vessels including fishing vessels are serviced as required by the Life Saving Equipment Regulations M95W0013 Fully satisfactory
M96-16 The Department of Transport encourage the owners and crews of small fishing vessels to conduct realistic emergency abandonment drills on a regular basis. M95W0005 Satisfactory intent
M96-15 The Department of Transport explore alternative means of communication to encourage crews of small fishing vessels to train in the use of life saving equipment. M95W0005 Satisfactory intent
M96-14 The Department of Transport conduct a study to identify the extent of unsafe loading and operating practices used by fishermen on small fishing vessels, with a view to developing guidelines for the safe operation of small fishing vessels. M95W0005 Unsatisfactory
M96-13 The Department of Transport, in conjunction with other government departments, agencies, and organizations, immediately undertake a national safety promotion program for operators and crews of small fishing vessels to increase their awareness of the effects of unsafe practices on vessel stability.  M95W0005 Fully satisfactory
M94-32 The Department of Transport explore means to ensure that structural modifications and the addition of weight items are recorded and accounted for in re-assessing the stability of small fishing vessels. M90L3033 Unsatisfactory
M94-31 The Department of Transport emphasize, through a safety awareness programme for owners, operators and officers of fishing vessels, the adverse effects of structural modifications and additional items on vessel stability. M90L3033 Satisfactory intent
M94-30 The Department of Transport develop and validate more appropriate stability criteria for small fishing vessels which take into account their characteristics and trade, and the conditions in which they operate. M90L3033 Fully satisfactory
M94-29 The Department of Transport assess the adequacy of the stability of the sister vessels to the Le Bout De Ligne under their present trade and operating conditions. M90L3033 Fully satisfactory
M94-20 The Department investigate the feasibility of expanding the use of appropriate radar transponders on small fishing vessels. M94M0009 Satisfactory in part
M94-19 The Department of Transport warn fishermen of the detection limits of radar reflectors on small fishing vessels and promote radar reflectors designed to ensure maximum reflective performance. M94M0009 Fully satisfactory
M94-10 The Department of Transport ensure that any person required to have the conduct of a commercial fishing vessel possess the basic skills for safe navigation. M92M4031* Satisfactory in part
M94-09 The Department of Transport encourage all fishing vessel masters/owners to prepare and maintain appropriate muster lists for each vessel, regardless of the crew size. M90L3034 Fully satisfactory
M94-08 The Department of Transport conduct a formal evaluation of current practices for the stowage of life preservers and immersion suits on fishing vessels with a view to ensuring immediate accessibility. M90L3034 Fully satisfactory
M94-07 The Department of Transport take whatever measures are necessary to ensure that the safety intent of the Boat and Fire Drills Regulations is being fulfilled by owners and operators of fishing vessels. M90L3034 Satisfactory intent
M93-03 The Department of Transport ensure that liferafts on all federally approved or inspected vessels are stowed in such a manner as to permit easy manual launching under any conditions likely to be encountered by that vessel. M93M4004 Fully satisfactory
M93-02 The Department of Transport evaluate the effectiveness of its distribution practices for all marine safety information aimed at fishing masters and fishermen.  M93M4004 Fully satisfactory
M93-01 The Department of Transport develop and implement measures to ensure that owners, operators and masters of vessels under its jurisdiction have effective training and procedures for securing all openings sufficient to preserve the watertight integrity of the hull. M93M4004 Satisfactory in part
M92-10 The Department of Transport, in collaboration with the fishing industry, implement a safety program to educate fishermen and fishing vessel operators about the potential dangers of shifting cargo due to improper penning. M90N5017 Satisfactory
M92-09 The Department of Transport emphasize, through a safety awareness program for operators, officers and crews of fishing vessels, the effects of inadequate drainage of the decks on vessel seaworthiness. M90N5017 Satisfactory in part
M92-08 The Department of Transport sponsor research on the dynamics and limitations of paravane stabilizers on fishing vessels with a view to developing adequate guidelines for fishermen on their design, performance and installation. M90N5017 Satisfactory
M92-06 The Department of Transport ensure that personnel who regularly crew closed-construction fishing vessels receive formal training in life saving equipment and survival techniques. M90N5017 Satisfactory
M92-05 The Department of Transport amend the pertinent regulations to ensure that bilge drainage systems are effective for all watertight compartments, including refrigerated spaces on fishing vessels, where below freezing temperatures may occur. M90M4020 Fully satisfactory
M92-04 The Department of Transport promote awareness among the operators, officers and crews of fishing vessels of the serious consequences associated with leaving access or other watertight doors open at sea. M90M4020 Satisfactory

*This old report is not available online. To obtain a copy, contact the TSB.

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