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Brett Ruskin / CBC News

CAN - Neglected Safety Gear on Fishing Boats Could Endanger Fishermen

'If it's not maintained it's likely not going to work for you when you need it'

Most fishing boats in Nova Scotia are well stocked with safety equipment, but in some cases it's installed and then forgotten. That means life-saving gear like survival suits aren't maintained and might not work in an emergency.  

It's a problem the Fisheries Safety Association of Nova Scotia is trying to solve. It wants fishermen to regularly inspect and test their safety equipment.  

"It's one thing to go out and buy all this for your vessel, but if it's not maintained it's likely not going to work for you when you need it," said Matthew Duffy, a safety adviser with the association.

Duffy has seen survival suits full of holes, rotted ropes, and life rings tied so tightly they couldn't be used.    

"We did a man-overboard drill where we got the crew involved and they got their immersion suits out," said Duffy. "One crew member opened it up and there was a squirrels' nest in one of them, you know, chewed right through the suit. That drives home the importance of looking at this stuff."

If there had been an actual emergency it would have left the crew with some tough decisions, said Duffy.  

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