Weymouth fisherman launches new lifesaving device

Dorset Echo: Weymouth fisherman launches new lifesaving device Weymouth fisherman launches new lifesaving device

DOZENS of fishermen turned out for the launch of a new device designed to save lives on land and sea.

The device, called System JFR, comprises a case and Kevlar lanyard attached to a Personal Locator Beacon.

Weymouth fisherman Hugh Cox created the case with Aquatec.

In the wake of the Purbeck Isle tragedy, where three lives were lost when the Weymouth fishing vessel went out to sea but never returned, Mr Cox said he felt compelled to try and do something to help.

The idea of the device is that it attaches to the fishermen’s lifejackets or waterproofs and then if they go over the side they can activate the beacon and it will transmit a unique code and GPS location to search and rescue satellites.

The name- System JFR - System Jack, Farley, Robert – is a tribute to the three men who lost their lives in the tragedy in May 2012.

Among the crowd packed into Weymouth Angling Club for the launch of System JFR, were representatives of the families of Purbeck Isle fishermen Robert Prowse and David McFarlane.

David McFarlane’s father Colin said: “This is going to be a fantastic help in locating anyone that is lost overboard or if their boat should sink.”

The family said they were happy to think that the device, which was inspired by the Purbeck Isle tragedy, would help to save lives.

David’s mum, Grace, said they had been delighted to hear about the system. She said: “Every fisherman should have one.”

Robert Prowse’s dad Pete said: “I think it’s a fantastic idea. It’s a pity they didn’t have them when the boat went down. If they had done we might have found Robert.”

He added that he thought it should be made law that fishermen had to wear a PLB and lifejackets.

Robert’s mum Maxine thanked Mr Cox for his hard work on the project. She added that it would give the family and friends of the fishermen piece of mind knowing they had it on.

She added: “I think it’s brilliant.”

Representatives from the coastguard were at the launch. John Braisher is the fishing liaison officer from Portland MRCC on Weymouth harbourside. He said: “Any project like this that saves a life at sea is amazing. Mr Cox has put a lot of time and thought into this project. I applaud his efforts in bringing this to fruition.”

Mr Cox held meetings with fishermen and made an application on behalf of two fishing associations – the Dorset Hand Line Fishermen’s Association and the Weymouth and Portland Licensed Fishermen’s and Boatmen's Association to help with the funding to the Marine Management Organisation and the European Fisheries Fund.

With their assistance the cost of the equipment and devices was reduced by half. The device could also be used by other people using the coast including kayakers, walkers and coasteerers.

Mr Cox said he was ‘delighted’ with the turn out for the launch.

He said he would like to thank Aquatec, Sprint Signs, Bussells chandlers, MMO and EFF and Dorset Embroidery and Printwear for their help and support.

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