A Cornwall Councillor has launched a campaign to save lives at sea by asking the Council to support an initiative to provide a new class of lifejacket with a satellite linked personal locator to every Cornish fisherman.
Cllr Armand Toms raised a motion at Full Council this week asking if Cornwall could do the same as Plymouth and help apply for a grant that would offset 80% of the cost and then look to provide financial assistance to those who need it to make up the rest.
Last September Plymouth City Council put the same motion to their council and were successful to gain a grant from the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) with an European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) grant. The motion is for Cornwall Council to make an application to the MMO to fund the purchase of Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) equipped with Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs). This would ensure that those local fisherman who would struggle financially to buy one of these potentially lifesaving pieces of equipment can be provided by the council at no cost.
The new lifejackets retail around £500 each.
The aim is to saves lives as each year fisherman die in incidents that could be avoided due to early warning that they are in trouble. The Personal Locator Beacon is switched on and the Lifeboat and Coastguard are alerted. This would help save lives as incidents off the Cornish Coast recently have proved that lives are being lost needlessly.
The RNLI say between 2010 and 2014, 54 commercial fishermen lost their lives at sea around the UK and Ireland but investigations found that sadly more than half of the fatalities were not wearing any type of lifejacket.
Plymouth City Council will be consulted for info to enable the Council to make a decision. It was agreed to send the decision to Cornwall Council cabinet to decide if the Council will support the initiative with officer time to work up the grant bid.