Working as a commercial fisherman is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most dangerous jobs. There are numerous ways in which they can end up in the water, with their shipmates (if they even have any) not noticing until it’s too late. That, or their boat can simply sink. In any case, fishermen need all the help they can get when it comes to safety, so a 14-group research consortium is developing “intelligent clothing” for them to wear at sea.
The three-year, 4 million Euro (approx. US$5,225,000) [email protected] project is being coordinated by Norway’s SINTEF research group, with Norwegian textile manufacturer Helly Hansen Pro as project manager. Other groups taking part in the project come from Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Belgium, Spain, Italy and the UK.
European fishermen have already expressed their needs to [email protected], and the group is now working on addressing them. One of the most noteworthy features of the workwear is a proposed built-in wireless “dead man’s handle.” This will detect when its wearer has fallen overboard, and automatically kill the boat’s engine and activate a locator beacon – an essential feature for fishermen who work alone. Such devices are already available, although they have to be manually attached to clothing, so they could be forgotten or just not used.