Fatigue — it'll bite you
Commercial fishing requires hard labor and dedication. Fishermen often sacrifice sleep to bring in a good catch, which also increases the risks of fatigue-related casualties. Hear Captain Russ Eager's story and get tips for reducing fatigue and helping prevent oil spills.
Fatigue will cost you
When a casualty causes an oil spill, the price is high. Costs can include state penalties, federal penalties, natural resource damage assessment and restoration, damaged/destroyed vessel, lost income, and medical bills.
For one man, fatigue cost nearly $70,000.
Our modern, 24-hour-a-day, technologically driven world makes it hard to get enough sleep and promotes fatigue. Accidents happen in all lines of work because of fatigue. Fatigue occurs when we fight against our body’s natural rhythms and don't get enough sleep. Sleep is a basic human need, and at some point, everyone will experience fatigue.
Casualties often endanger lives, cause oil pollution, and cost the vessel owners for salvage, cleanup, environmental damages, and penalties.
Control fatigue before it controls you
There are things you can do to reduce the chances of an accident as the result of fatigue. With long work hours, rough seas, and small crews, they’ll require some thought and effort.
Tips for crew
Tips for owners & captains
More fatigue tips
- Make quality sleep time a priority.
- Make your sleep space as dark and quiet as possible.
- Get as close to 7-8 hours of sleep a day as you can. Use down-time to take a nap.
- Avoid using drugs and alcohol that can hurt sleep quality and quantity.
Captain Eager's story
Hear the captain's story about his experience with fatigue and the advice he gives for preventing casualties.
82 fatigue-related casualties in the last five years
The Coast Guard and Ecology documented cases of fatigue-causing marine accidents. Fatigue-related casualties of commercial fishing vessels on Pacific Northwest shores occur regularly.
||Fatigue-related casualties for Oregon and SW Washington
More stories of fatigue-related fishing vessel casualties
This webpage was produced in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard.
Mike Lynch, Investigations Coordinator
Washington Department of Ecology