The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Alaska Pacific Office recently conducted a survey of the best types of personal flotation devices for fishermen. The survey included fishermen, trawlers, longliners and gillnetters. The researchers found that fishermen in different types of work may prefer different types of flotation devices.

It’s important that maritime employers provide the right kinds of flotation devices depending on the type of work that the worker performs. Personal flotation devices are not one-size-fits-all, and different types of devices may be suitable for different situations.

For instance, a fisherman working crowded decks, and who works in close proximity to complicated fishing gear, may find it much more convenient and safe to wear a personal flotation device that has no snagging risk. Similarly, a crewmember who works very often in cold weather like fishermen in the Alaska fisheries, may find it much safer to wear a personal flotation device that comes with additional padding for insulation.

The report also compares the 2 main types of personal flotation devices that are used – inflatable devices and foam devices. Both of them have their benefits. Inflatable devices are slimmer, more convenient to wear, and much lighter. However, they require more maintenance, can be more expensive, and must be more born over rain gear, which can make them a little cumbersome.

Foam personal flotation devices, on the other hand, are heavier, do not require much maintenance or accessories. They are cheaper, and they can be worn under rain gear, which makes them much more convenient for fishermen to wear during cold weather.

The Houston maritime lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers  represent maritime workers injured in accidents in the Gulf of Mexico and across the United States.