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Northeast Center Lifejackets for Lobstermen!

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Northeast Center Lifejackets for Lobstermen!

  • Type: Safety at Sea
  • Location: Various locations, Various towns, Massachusetts and Maine
  • Date: April 01, 2019 - November 15, 2019
  • Time: 08:00am - 05:00pm

We’re proud to partner with the Northeast Center for Occupational Health & Safety on their “Lifejackets for Lobstermen” Van Tour. The tour runs April – November and will stop at ports across Massachusetts and Maine. Visit our Facebook page for updates on tour stops.

Researchers Launch “Lifejackets for Lobstermen” Van 

to make Life Jacket Use Easy and Affordable for Lobstermen

Lobster fishing deaths accounted for the highest number of occupational fatalities in East Coast fisheries from 2010-2014. Most of these deaths were related to falls overboard (50%) or vessel disasters (30%) and, based on fatality report narratives, none of the recovered victims was wearing a life jacket.

Researchers at the Northeast Center for Occupational Health and Safety: Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (NEC) have been working with lobstermen in Massachusetts and Maine over the past few years to understand why life jacket use has been relatively uncommon among fishermen in this fishery sector. Feedback from the community has pointed to a number of barriers to life jacket use that the NEC and their partners (Fishing Partnership Support Services, Maine Lobstermen’s Association, Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, McMillian Offshore Survival Training and the Atlantic Offshore Lobstermen’s Association) are addressing.

Two life jacket vans will drive to ports in Massachusetts and Maine and provide life jacket options at a one-time discount and will allow fishermen to try them on, get information about the various options available and learn about additional technology that can improve fishermen’s chances of recovery and survival in the event of a fall overboard.

Lifejacket Van schedule:

Next week you can catch the van at the following Maine ports:
April 22 at 10 am: Wells, ME – Harbormaster’s Office
April 23 at 10 am: Kennebunkport, ME – Government Wharf
April 25 at 10 am: Cape Porpoise, ME – Cape Porpoise Pier
April 26 at 10 am: Phippsburg, ME – Town Hall

Check back here, keep an eye on our social media posts, and watch your inbox for email blasts for information on when the Lifejackets for Lobstermen van is coming to a port near you!

In addition to improving access to affordable life jackets, the campaign seeks to make the process of getting and using life jackets, a positive, fun experience. The Lifejackets for Lobstermen campaign is really more than just a mobile van that carries life jackets–it’s about bringing the community together to celebrate and support a very important segment of coastal economies.

Over the next few months, the NEC and its partners hope to make life jacket use the norm in the lobster fishing community. As Captain Mark Ring, in Gloucester, MA said, “They are bringing safety to the fleet, one boat at a time”.

If the van campaign proves successful, NEC researchers plan to work with local partners, community members, retailers, and fishing groups to develop a transition plan that will ensure the sustainability of the program through local ownership.

Most importantly, they hope to improve fishermen’s chances of survival and markedly reduce fatalities in the lobster fishing industry in the coming years.

The NEC is funded through the Centers for Disease Control to address prominent occupational safety and health hazards in agricultural, forestry and fishing communities throughout the Northeast. In addition to conducting research and developing safety programs, the Center offers safety training, health screening and counseling services to agricultural, forestry and fisheries workers.


To find out more about the Lifejackets for Lobstermen campaign, visit the project’s Facebook page for updates, contact project staff via email at, or call (607) 221-4448.

Funding for this program is provided by NEC.

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