Free safety training draws dozens to Portland harbor

First published in Landings, June, 2015.

IMG_1985IMG_1944On May 21st Fishing Partnership Support Services (FPSS) partnered with the Maine Lobstermen’s Association to hold a free safety and survival training for fishermen at the South Portland Coast Guard station. More than 40 people attended the day-long workshop to learn about first aid, survival suits, firefighting, life raft equipment, and more. Everyone also got a tour of the Coast Guard’s command center to learn how the Coast Guard responds to distress calls.

Fishermen seemed most appreciative of the session about survival suits. For many, this was the first time they had tried their suits on. “This is the most helpful part of the day,” said Hugh Bowen, a lobsterman from Freeport. He said it was his first time in the water in his survival suit.

IMG_1958IMG_1936Luis Catala, FPSS Safety Training Program Coordinator, said he was impressed with the age range he saw at the South Portland training. “I believe we had an equal amount of very young lobstermen as we did old-timers.” And, he continued, “regardless of age, about 90% raised their hand when asked if this was the first time attending any safety training offering. These are great things to see, that we are reaching folks who need this training regardless of age or experience level.”

Photos by Sarah Paquette