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The Fishing Vessel Stability Education Program: An Informed Blueprint For Program Design

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Ocean, Marine, and Coastal Engineering Topics

Tagged Division

Ocean and Marine

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1427.1 - 12.1427.12



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Paper Authors

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Barb Howe FishSafe B.C.


Gina Johansen Fish Safe

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Gina Johansen is a familiar personality in the B.C. fishing industry. She grew up a third generation fisherman, and raised her two children on board a seine boat. Since 1992 she has operated her project management business providing marketing and quality programs for seafood associations such as the B.C. Salmon Marketing Council. She took the position of B.C. Fishing Industry Safety Coordinator in 2003. The Fish Safe Stability Education Program for fishermen is dedicated to her Father and crew who were lost when his vessel capsized in 1975. Gina's hope is that ultimately fishermen will take ownership of safety and that there will be less tragedy in the fishing industry. As Fishing Industry Safety Coordinator she works with Provincial and National agencies who all have regulatory madates for the fishing industry.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Fishing Vessel Stability Education Program An Informed Blueprint for Program Design


A fishing vessel capsizes and the call for stability education resumes, suggesting that past and current training programs are not contributing significantly to education and prevention of capsizings. This paper introduces an industry driven educational program where fishermen’s prior experience is central to their learning. Instructional design is problem based and includes a hands on model. The program, informed by research literature on learning, is described within the framework of an adult education planning model, including epistemology, needs assessment, learning outcome, instructional design, facilitation and evaluation. It was recently awarded the Canadian Society of Safety Engineers Annual Achievement Award. Pedagogical similarities with the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative, an innovative program to reshape science education are noted. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of implications and limitations.


Fishermen untie the lines and put to sea with the promise of a good catch and a safe return home to their family and friends. Tragically, numbers tell another story. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) investigates marine occurrences, and their statistics indicate that since 1993 over 500 Canadian fishing vessels have been lost and more than 200 fishermen did not come home. The Workers Compensation Board of British Columbia (WCB) recently issued a media release that reports 157 fishing vessels have capsized and 66 lives have been lost in British Columbia since 1975.

Each time a fishing vessel capsizes there is a renewed call for stability training. The fishing community mourns, fishermen talk among themselves about what happened, insurance companies pay out claims, and the agencies responsible for safety training revisit the conundrum of why fishermen don’t seem to be getting the safety message about stability.

In 1975 ten vessels capsized with 14 fatalities during the B.C. herring fishery. The West Coast Fishing Casualties Investigation Report recommended that seamanship training and education in stability should commence immediately to help crews become aware of the limitations of their vessels.1

In 1995 the Canadian fishing vessel Pacific Bandit capsized. The TSB recommended that the “Department of Transport…immediately undertake a safety promotion program for operators and crews of small fishing vessels to increase their awareness of the effects of unsafe operating practices on vessel stability”.2 Transport Canada (TC) indicated that they had done a study that “recognized the relationship between education, awareness, positive safety attitudes and changed behaviors” The findings also noted that to reach the appropriate audience “effective means of delivering the safety message be utilized” [italics added].3

Howe, B., & Johansen, G. (2007, June), The Fishing Vessel Stability Education Program: An Informed Blueprint For Program Design Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--3056

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