Specialist equipment and training for fishermen to help save lives at sea have been welcomed.

Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani announced during a meeting with safety experts and coastal MPs that an additional £700,000 will be provided to give more fishermen potentially lifesaving training.

This is on top of an existing £250,000 pot, which is matched by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

The Department for Transport will also work with Seafish Industry Authority to deliver more than 500 personal floatation devices fitted with locator beacons, worth a total of £250,000, to help find people who have fallen overboard – the most common reason for fatalities at sea. Additionally, the Department will work with Trinity House and Seafish to promote fishing safety through a targeted campaign.

Last year there were six fishing fatalities, either through people falling overboard or due to issues affecting the stability of vessels.

South Dorset MP Richard Drax, who attended the meeting with the minister, said: “These new monies to help fund safety at sea for our fishermen are to be welcomed.

"The Government has been working closely with the industry and associated organisations for some time now and there appears to be agreement all round that safety on fishing vessels is a priority and must, within reason, be improved.

"Sadly, as we know all too well, fisherman can drown when they fall overboard or their vessel capsizes, and lives can be saved if, for example, lifejackets are worn. We owe so much to those who serve in this tough industry and I am pleased that their well-being is now a top priority.”

Increasing safety on fishing vessels is one of the priorities of the Maritime Safety Action Plan, which was published by the Department for Transport on July 1.

Nusrat Ghani MP said, “Fishing remains the most dangerous industry in the UK, and so we must keep working to reduce the risks crew members face. We want to eliminate all preventable deaths by 2027, and the extra training and better equipment I’m announcing today will mean fewer fishermen getting into danger at sea.”

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is also looking, by 2020, to require skippers of vessels between 7 metres and 16.5 metres to hold a Skipper’s Certificate, as well as to implement a new Code of Practice for fishing vessels under 15m, which will include stability requirements.