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.