TitlePrimary prevention of fishing vessel disasters: Evaluation of a United States Coast Guard policy intervention
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsLucas, DL, Kincl, L, Bovbjerg, VE, Branscum, AJ, Lincoln, JM
JournalMarine Policy
Pagination67 - 73
Date Published12/2014

Primary injury prevention strategies are needed to improve worker safety in the fishing industry by reducing the occurrence of vessel disasters. In 2006, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) implemented a novel safety policy intervention for two fleets of freezer-trawlers and freezer-longliners in Alaska. The Alternate Compliance and Safety Agreement (ACSA) set standards for vessel stability, watertight integrity, hull condition, and other critical vessel components. To determine if ACSA has been an effective primary prevention intervention for improving safety in the fishing industry, a longitudinal study was conducted using retrospective data on vessel casualties during 2003–2012. On both types of vessels, reported rates of serious vessel casualties decreased after the vessels reached compliance with ACSA requirements, suggesting that ACSA has had a positive effect on vessel safety in the freezer-trawl and freezer-longline fleets. These results support the premise that primary prevention policies can contribute to worker safety by reducing the occurrence of vessel disasters. Future USCG safety policies should be patterned after ACSA and improved by following the recommendations outlined in this study.