These are the words of Samuel Cully, a fisherman from Portavogie, who was in the water for 45 minutes after his vessel sank on Wednesday 18 September off the coast of county Down in Northern Ireland. Weather conditions at the time were rough seas with force five to six winds blowing. Lifeboats from Portaferry and Donaghadee were launched within minutes of his May Day, along with an Irish Coast Guard helicopter, and rescued Samuel after slightly less than an hour.
He later reported that the boat had sunk and capsized in a matter of minutes and that the section that flooded first was the one containing the safety equipment, including life vests and rockets. Luckily, Mr Cully was already wearing the personal flotation device that he had received weeks earlier thanks to a grant-aided scheme funded through the European Fisheries Fund.
Samuel’s story shows how crucially important it is to wear a personal flotation device while at sea and to make fishermen aware of how to use them properly. Promoting safety at sea being a key priority for the European Commission, the new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund will help increase fisherman’s access to training and information which could help save their lives.