MCA figures reveal nearly 100 deaths in five years could have been prevented by wearing lifejackets

Nearly a

hundred maritime deaths might have been prevented over the past five years if

the victims had been wearing lifejackets. In 2011 alone, nearly 75 per cent of

those who died in incidents where it would have been appropriate to have worn

some form of buoyancy aid would probably or could possibly have been saved had

they been doing so.

The stark

figures have been released by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA)

following the annual meeting of its Casualty Review Panel. Many people do not

wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid when transferring between a vessel and the

shore, but such transfers are proved to be particularly hazardous.

The risk

is increased following alcohol consumption, with no less than eight of the 12

fatalities recorded when transferring during 2011 having been drinking. Angling

and commercial fishing are the two riskiest activities where lives might be

saved by buoyancy-wear, according to the figures collated by the panel, but

there are lessons too for leisure sailors.