Funding Safety At Sea For Our Fishing Sector

Last week was Marine Safety Week and to mark the importance of improving safety at sea the Scottish Government has announced funding for 100 new on-board defibrillators and a range of life-saving training opportunities for fishing vessels.

Sea Survival man in swimming pool

Seafish will deliver the £140,000 safety training for the crew of fishing vessels. This training is free to anyone working on commercial fishing vessels in Scotland.

Seafish, the public body supporting the seafood sector in the UK, used match funding provided by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency to apply for funding from the new Marine Fund Scotland. A total of £280,000 is now available for spending until 31 March 2022.

This means Seafish has funding in place to subsidise training for fishermen across the whole of the UK. Training is a key part of Seafish’s work to help make the fishing industry safer.

Simon Potten, Head of Safety & Training at Seafish, welcomed the news and is encouraging those who work on fishing vessels in Scotland to start thinking about what training they might need. He said:

“This funding has to be used by 31 March 2022, or it will be lost. Any training will need to have been completed by then so please get your applications in ASAP and get training courses booked.

“With training providers still getting back to normal after the pandemic and many operating with reduced class sizes, training places are at a premium. Apply for funding and book early to avoid disappointment.”


Commercial fishermen with experience and new entrants who want to work in the fishing industry are eligible for funding. The training must be formally recognised and delivered by a training provider approved by either Seafish, the Maritime & Coastguard Agency or the Royal Yachting Association.

All funding should be applied for and approved before doing the training. To apply for funding, download an application form on the Seafish website. The full web address is

Funding applications can also be made through any of the Seafish Approved Training Providers. A full list is on the Seafish website

Derek Cardno, Safety & Training Officer at the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, commented:

“This is great news for fishermen across Scotland. The funding will encourage more fishermen to do any safety training that they feel is vital to help keep them and their fellow crew members safe. It will also help career-minded fishermen to gain the qualifications they need to become the skippers, mates and engineers that the Scottish fishing industry needs.”


The defibrillators funding of £80.000 will be distributed through the Scottish White Fish Producers Association (SWFPA). to their members.

Co-chair of the Scottish Fishing Safety Group (SFSG) Derek Cardno said:

“I am delighted with the announcement of safety training funding today.

“Fishermen’s training is at the core of SFSG vision for fishing safety and securing this for Scottish fishermen will make a huge difference as we strive to see zero deaths in the Scottish fishing industry happen, annually.  

The Group over the last 12 months have had lots of input into securing this funding for all fishermen in Scotland and we are thankful to the Scottish Government for their support.”

For the Scottish Government ,Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said:

“This funding underlines our commitment to investing in the marine sectors and supporting local economies and coastal communities.

“This funding will help to deliver vital fishing safety training to our fishing fleet, while the provision of defibrillators will provide crucial assistance while at sea.

“In the case of sudden cardiac arrest, we know the sooner a defibrillator can be deployed the better the survival chances.

“These units are easy to use and the supplier will provide training courses and service the equipment.

“This funding supports the work of the Scottish Fishing Safety Group which aims to improve health, safety and wellbeing on vessels and reduce accidents across the whole industry.

“The initiative also ties in with our Future Fisheries Management Strategy which sets out our ambitions to promote fishing as an attractive and safe career of choice.”

Stromness fishing boats credit Hannah Fennell

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