Supporting injured fishermen access the help they need

Pete started working at sea when he was 15 years old. He was fishing from Grimsby on deep sea trawlers, travelling to Iceland and Greenland, and after years of working at sea, he moved to Scotland to continue his fishing career.

Whilst at sea, he suffered a terrible accident which crushed his leg, but made a full recovery and was able to get back to work. However, a few years later, another accident had devastating effects and saw Pete retire after 17 years at sea.

“I had a really bad accident almost cutting off my left hand when we were fishing in the Norwegian sector. I had a bit of a meltdown because I couldn’t cope – I’d been at sea since I was 15 and then suddenly you’re not fit for sea no more. My physical and mental health started getting worse and worse.”

In 2018, Pete moved to a different flat. He was having a difficult time dealing with the new council and the Jobcentre and ended up having his money taken away from him. Dealing with his deteriorating mental health, troubled physical health and financial complications, Pete called the Seafarer’s Advice and Information Line (SAIL) which operates with support from Seafarers UK. Pete spoke to caseworker Leon and told him about his situation.

“I was at breaking point when I called SAIL. I was worried sick I was going to lose my flat.”

“I sent SAIL the letter giving details of my benefits Leon looked in to it for me. He called the manager at the Jobcentre and – unbelievably – an hour later that manager called me apologising for the three months of hell they’d put me through.”

“Leon also sorted out my benefits. He said there was a benefit I should be getting – I now get almost £200 a month from that and it makes all the difference. They even backdated it for all the weeks I hadn’t been getting it which was brilliant ‘cause I was really struggling.”

“I’m just glad that when I phoned up SAIL it was Leon that answered. I really am. He saved me from being on the verge of losing everything to getting back on track again. I was really at the point of breaking up, at rock bottom. It was like all the bad things coming through my door, Leon made them go away. That’s how it was to me.”

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Seafarers UK’s focus on fishing is a result of the Fishing For a Future report published in 2018, that gave us clear evidence of the harsh working conditions faced by our fishermen who put their lives at risk to put food on our tables. Click here to learn more about the report and its findings.