News

Written by: Erin Pottie - Cape Breton Bureau - 8 May 2014 - Herald News - Canada

BIG BRAS D'OR — Breaking bad habits may eventually ensure that all fishermen return home safe at the end of the day.

Fishing safety advocates drove home the message of being prepared during demonstrations Thursday at harbours in Dingwall, Ingonish and Big Bras d'Or.

Colin Fahie, a Big Bras d'Or lobster fisherman, said he wears a floater suit while out on the water until "it gets too hot."

Fahie recalled a dangerous situation about eight years ago when the boat he was on flipped over in frigid waters near Iona.

"It was April 30, there was still ice in Baddeck Bay," he said.

"We flipped it at 9:30 at night and they rescued us at 5:20 the next morning. The boat didn't sink, it flipped over and caught air, and we sat on it all night."

Asked about making life vests mandatory, Fahie said, "If it saves lives, sure."

An increase in fatalities has resulted in a call to action to improve fishing safety in Nova Scotia.

In 2013, there were eight workplace fishing deaths reported in the province, representing half the province's total of workplace fatalities.

So far in 2014, one person has died fishing.