Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Workplace Health and Safety Information—Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing

Refinement of the Fishing Vessel Drills (FVdrills) Safety iOS Application Safety training


Commercial fishing has long been one of the the most dangerous jobs in the United States.  The value of safety training in commercial fleets has been discussed and regulatory agencies have recognized the importance of conducting monthly fishing vessel (FV) drills.  For example, the United States Coast Guard requires an appropriately trained fishing vessel drill conductor aboard and each crew member's participation in monthly drills (CFR 28.270).

In support of an application-based approach to maritime occupational safety interventions, the PI teamed up with Jerry Dzugan (Co-Investigator) to develop an iOS-based drill checklist app FVdrills. The content of the drills was mainly adapted from the book "Beating the Odds on Northern Waters" (Jensen & Dzugan, 2009) by Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA).  The initial development of FVdrills was supported as the Kevin P. Granata Pilot Research Program.  The FVdrills app was released in February 2013 and primary feedback from fishermen indicated broad support of the application. The app has 529 worldwide users on six continents as of July 2014.

FV Drill App screenshots

Figure 1: Sample screen captures from FVdrills, "Checklist" (left) and "Drill: Abandon Ship" page (right) in iPhone 6 (simulated)


The research team hypothesized that enabling portability of the drill checklist as an app will encourage compliance as maritime workers find that adopting to the life-saving regulations is both low-cost and improves safety.  Figure 1 shows sample screen captures of the FVdrills.

Future Efforts

The main goal of this project is to improve the FVdrills app so it will be more deployable for fishing safety.  There are two fundamental objectives on this study:

  1. Incorporate anecdotal feedback by fishermen and commercial vessel operators into the FVdrills.
  2. Conduct a preliminary assessment effort upon which to base a more comprehensive assessment effort.

Jensen, S. and Dzugan, J. (2009). Beating the Odds on Northern Waters (6th Ed.), Alaska Sea Grant.

Faculty and Facility

PI: Leigh McCue-Weil (Virginia Tech, OSHRC); Co-Is: Jerry Dzugan (Alaska Marine Safety Education Association), Maria T. Bulzacchelli (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)

In partnership with Virginia Tech Occupational Safety and Health Research Center: