April 02, 2020
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Lifejacket vans bringing life jackets to lobstermen in Maine and Massachusetts

Community Author: Rebecca Weil
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The Lifejackets for Lobstermen Project has two vans visiting 43 harbors along the coasts of Maine and Massachusetts until the end of October. The vans, equipped with 11 different models of life jackets and buoyancy aids, are giving everyone the opportunity to try on personal flotation devices (PFDs) to see what will work for them.

Commercial lobstermen, and commercial fishermen with a lobster bycatch license are eligible to purchase these devices at the vans for a 50% discount.

Falls overboard are the most frequent cause of death in the Northeast lobster fishing industry. These events can happen in a split second, without the time to put on a life saving device. All the devices in the vans are a direct response to feedback from lobstermen. The Northeast Center for Occupational Health and Safety (NEC) is running this project, in collaboration with Fishing Partnership Support Services, Maine Lobstermen’s Association, Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, McMillan Offshore Survival Training and the Atlantic Offshore Lobstermen’s Association.

Many commercial lobstermen have taken advantage of the one-time discount. On the first leg of the journey, the project sold over 300 life jackets to commercial lobstermen and are now on their final trip up the coast, visiting the same 43 harbors, with stops between one and four days long.

To find out where the life jacket van will be, go to our Facebook page for updates at facebook.com. If you have questions, call 607-221- 4448 or email LifejacketProject@bassett.org.