Read the following article by Elspeth Shears, the creative communications officer for Mindfully Wired - the non-for-profit that mixes creativity and science to tell stories of sustainability. Elspeth talks about the nation-wide campaign, ‘Home and Dry’, which she worked on under Mindfully Wired, for the Fishing Industry Safety Group (FISG).
Battling stormy seas, howling winds and rolling swells. Long weeks spent away from loved ones. Demanding, strenuous work for days on end. Commercial fishing is certainly not for the fainthearted.
In fact, commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous peacetime occupations in the UK, with 71 fishermen losing their lives in the last 10 years. As a relatively small industry with just 12,000 active fishermen currently in the UK, this is a worryingly high statistic.
Last year, a nation-wide campaign, ‘Home and Dry’, was led by the Fishing Industry Safety Group (FISG) , to target the low number of fishermen not wearing life jackets whilst at sea - despite the new law which makes wearing a life jacket on board fishing vessels compulsory, as well as other safety requirements. The campaign shines a light on the fishing heroes across the nation who work tirelessly to put seafood on our plates, urging them to ensure they get back to port safely. Rather than focussing on the negative emotions of fear and risk that tend to dominate safety campaigns, this campaign sought to highlight something more personal - what it means to come back home.
‘Home and Dry’ hones in on the deep-rooted, heart-warming values and pride that fishermen associate with home, family, friendship and community; touching at the core of what it means to be a fisherman, and the love and responsibility that drives them to go to sea and safely return ashore.
“We go to sea to earn money to provide for our families. You find yourself thinking, what will happen if I go overboard? It’s the family who will suffer if I’m lost at sea.” -Skipper, Luke Selvey
At the heart of Home and Dry is an emotive, cinematic-style film, which follows the actions of skipper Dave Driver and his crew, on their vessel as they go fishing fromBrixham harbour. It captures the realities of life as a fisherman: the challenging conditions and sense of camaraderie; as well as the real-life thoughts and memories of fishermen, shown by genuine family photographs and thoughts of ‘home’ during moments of reflection whilst at sea.
The film’s unique soundtrack was produced by English actor and singer-songwriter Johnny Flynn, who was wanted to be involved as he has a personal connection to the fishing community. He once lived in a small fishing town in West Wales and grew close to the fishing community there while lifting lobster pots on a boat belonging to his friend’s father.
“A few years ago, my mum watched a horrific accident at sea from her kitchen window. Two local fishermen drowned and the boat broke up on a shelf in plain sight from the coast. I was thinking of my friends and all the people I know in the fishing industry, as well as my own experiences working on a boat when I wrote the song for the campaign.”
Home and Dry set out to spark a dialogue within the fishing community, to inspire more conversations about safety among fishermen, and between fishermen and their loved ones, creating a culture of safety-mindedness. An integral part of this shared dialogue was facilitated by the sharing of photos and stories from fishermen and their loved ones via social media using the campaign hashtag #HomeAndDry.
These images and personal accounts, derived directly from the fishing community itself, continue to provide the backbone of the campaign.
This year, Home and Dry will be rolling out another campaign focussing specifically on Man Overboard prevention, where fishermen from across the UK will be sharing the simple steps they have taken to ensure everyone stays on board. Do you have a loved one who works in fishing or know someone who does? Tell them about Home and Dry - you could save a life. Visit homeanddry.uk for more information.
The Fishing Industry Safety Group (FISG)is a stakeholder group, set up in 2013, to improve the safety of commercial fishing at sea. Its ultimate goal is zero preventable deaths at sea and to reduce the number of serious accidents and vessels lost at sea due to health and safety issues. FISG is led by the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) and members include public bodies such as Seafish, Government regulators, charities and fishermen’s associations.
The Home and Dry campaign was brought to you by Mindfully Wired Communications (MWC), a small, dynamic and creative communications consultancy working on environmental projects, predominantly in the area of sustainable fishing.
The film and visual assets were produced by MWC and creative agency, Hello Charlie. Words by Elspeth Shears | Home and Dry