Commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous occupations in the province, and drowning is the leading cause of death among B.C. fishermen.

WorkSafeBC statistics reveal there were 26 work-related deaths in the commercial fishing industry between 2007 and 2017, and among those, 16 were drowning-related.

Patrick Olsen, Manager for Prevention and Field Services said it’s easy to become complacent about the risk of drowning while working on a fishing boat but the danger is real.

“People think they are going to have time to grab their PFD and put it on and in a lot of cases that’s just not the case, you know, the boat is sinking, they are trying to deal with that emergency, they are not thinking about grabbing their PFD, they are trying to solve the problem and all of a sudden it’s too late. The boat rolls over and sinks out from under them and they haven’t had time to put on the PFD, or they slip off the boat and now they are looking at their PFD on the boat and wishing they had put it on.”

As part of WorkSafeBC’s awareness efforts, a new video, has been posted on the website that recounts two tragic stories of commercial-fishing workers who lost their lives at sea, and one story of a guide who nearly drowned.

He said the incidents might have been prevented if the workers had been wearing PFDs.