SOUTH West fishermen will now be safer at sea thanks to a device designed in Weymouth.

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

He designed System JFR – System Jack, Farley, Robert – named in tribute to the three men who lost their lives in May 2012.

It comprises a pouch for a personal locator beacon and a lanyard which attaches to a lifejacket or waterproofs and is designed to be used if anyone goes over the side of a boat.

South West Handline Fishermen’s Association (SWHFA), based in Newlyn, Cornwall, put in an order for 28 of the devices for their members with help from grants from the European Fisheries Fund and the Marine Management Organisation.

Mr Cox said he thought it was ‘absolutely brilliant’ that another fishing community in the South West would be using the devices.

He added that he felt proud when he saw the fishermen in the harbour wearing System JFR.

He said: “Walking down the harbour you see people going to sea with it strapped to their chest and I think ‘good’.

“If something happened they stand a better chance.”

He added: “I feel very proud when I see people wearing it.”

Fifty fishermen in Weymouth and 28 from the South West Handliners will be using it.

Secretary of the SWHFA, David Muirhead, said they were delighted to have been able to get funding for System JFR, personal locator beacons and life-jackets for their members.

He said: “It’s the ultimate in personal safety.“ If anyone wearing the device went overboard, their lifejackets would inflate, and by pressing the emergency button would instantly inform the coastguard of their location.

For more information call Mr Cox on 07770 587450.


• Last night the Royal National Lifeboat Institution handed out 78 Personal Flotation Devices at a presentation evening at Weymouth Angling Club.

The RNLI gave a demonstration on how the special lifejacket works and how to wear and maintain it.

Funding for the PFDs was provided from the European Fisheries Fund by the Marine Management Organisation, with match funding provided by Seafish and the maritime charity Seafarers UK.

The RNLI said that they are available to all existing commercial fishermen. To sign up for one, fishermen should contact the RNLI.

They will need to fill out an application, bringing with them photo ID and vessel details. Visit