Frazer Scott, Commerical Fisherman

'The hardest thing I've ever done

Frazer Scott will never go to sea again without having a way of getting back aboard. Find out why – and see affordable and simple recovery ideas below.

Are you rigged and ready?

Being rigged and ready for a MOB situation doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. We’ve got some easy, affordable recovery ideas for you, which only need to be rigged once. Watch the film here to see a couple of these solutions in action.

With thanks to Torbay Harbour staff with the making of this film.

97 fishermen died 2006-2017*

62 fishermen died from an MOB situation 2006-2017*

90 seconds for cold water shock to pass

5-10 minutes before you can’t help yourself

*stats provided by the Maritime Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB)

Affordable and simple recovery ideas

  • Commercial fisherman using a bag and ladder rig
    Tyre solution
    Rope tyres together into a line – you can rig one of these up yourself. It remains over the side of the boat at all times. When deployed at least one tyre should hang below the water surface.
  • A commercial fishing vessel with an A-frame
    Ladder solution

    A ladder solution, with a weighted bottom rung, secured firmly to the railings with straps hanging below. A firm tug on one the straps releases the ladder.

    Once deployed, the ladder should sit in the water at a depth of 4ft.

  • A commercial fishing vessel with an A-frame
    Haul-out solution

    If your vessel is crewed by multiple people and has an A-frame, this is one for you.

    With a harness stowed close-by and clipped on in case of a MOB situation, the haul-out rig is lowered to the crew member in the water so they can be lifted back on deck.

The lifesaving ideas outlined in this campaign are purely suggestions and the RNLI in no way endorses or warrants the effectiveness any of these ideas or products. The use of any of these ideas shall be solely at the user’s risk.

‘I don’t exactly know what happened. I was in a bit of a rush and I slipped.’ 

Frazer Scott is a creel fisherman from Garlieston Harbour in Dumfries and Galloway.

He’s been fishing these waters for more than 30 years and never thought he’d find himself falling overboard.

Conditions were calm the day it happened but Frazer was by himself – and he wasn’t prepared for getting back aboard his vessel.

Thankfully, he’s here to tell the tale and is sharing his story to help save other fishermen's lives. Frazer is now rigged and ready for MOB recovery.


Useless unless worn

Accidents happen and you, or your crew, could end up in the water unexpectedly.

Why wear a lifejacket?

  • It buys you precious time until help arrives.
  • If correctly fitted and maintained, it will help you to float (even if you’re unconscious).
  • It dramatically increases your chances of survival – you’re four times more likely to survive in the sea.

Read our handy guide, PFD Guidance For Commercial Fishing, to find out more about why you should wear a lifejacket.

More and more fishermen are wearing lifejackets while working on deck. Fishermen like Sam Cully who survived when his fishing boat sunk thanks to the PFD he was given just 2 weeks earlier.

Get more information on fitting, checking and maintaining your lifejacket by watching our series of films here.

Bridlington lifeboat crew rescue four fisherman from their sinking boat

Photo: RNLI / Andy Brompton

Bridlington lifeboat crew rescue four fisherman from their sinking boat

Vessel stability

Unstable vessels are a leading cause of death among commercial fishermen. Between 2010 and 2013, capsize, leaking or swamping accounted for 57% of commercial fishing fatalities in the UK and Ireland.

Leaks, overloading and the free surface effect of a loose catch or poorly stowed kit can all make a fishing vessel unstable.

By keeping your vessel’s stability in mind throughout a trip, you can significantly reduce the risks.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to find out the tipping point of your fishing boat – watch our videos on simple checks to keep your vessel stable.