Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Research study of commercial fishermen and PFDs

Batten down the hatches, there is a storm is a brewing! Research shows that commercial fishing is a dangerous occupation and the most hazardous job in the US and UK (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011; Maritime Coastguard Agency, 2007). Vessels sinking causes the most fatalities followed by falling overboard (Case, Lincoln, & Lucas, 2018). According to Case and colleagues (2018) nearly 100% of the time, victims found are not wearing any sort of life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD). The is no shortage of research stating these statistics. However, there is a shortage of research stating why fishermen are not wearing PFDs at sea. This study aims to fill that gap by understanding fishermen’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors in general and in regards to wearing PFDs at sea.

IF YOU HAVE COMMERCIALLY/PROFESSIONALLY FISHED IN THE PAST YEAR, please take moment to fill out my survey here: PDF Survey
Feel free to share this link with other fisherfolks. Thanks!!

Photo courtesy of Fish Safety Foundation

A bit about me. I started commercial fishing in Alaska in the fall of 1992, a 24-hour halibut derby. You can read all about that experience, complete with photos, here: Halibut Derby. Following the compass over the next decade or two are cycles of fishing and schooling. Fishing for salmon, halibut and herring all over Alaska, buying my own boat and slaying Copper River Reds and Kings, anchoring down in Anchorage for a BS in Outdoor Studies and a MSc in Counselling Psychology, then back to catching salmon for a few more years. Later, crossing the pond for a PhD.

Currently, I am a PhD Researcher at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Generally, I study personality and work and organizational psychology. In other words, I study the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of employees at work. This specific research study is on commercial or professional fishermen, their personality and habits of wearing a PFD at sea. They say to research what you know!

This study in particular has gotten quite of bit of attention. Many of you have asked about me, the study and the results so I wanted to make one centralized location where all of these topics can be addressed as well as make one central place to have an ongoing conversation regarding PFD use while commercial fishing. Check back here from time to time to get updates regarding this study. Results will be posted here as well, but keep in mind academia moves at glacial speed so it might be summer 0f 2019.

If you have any comments please email me at: or follow me on Twitter @PickfishJen 

Good fishing and stay safe!

Jen Pickett