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Polperro Life-jackets Campaign

Tragic accident at start of New Millennium

The tiny fishing village of Polperro in Cornwall has been stunned by the loss at sea of one of its young people - a professional fisherman called Daniel Kebble. Daniel died whilst fishing in Talland Bay on Saturday 8 January 2000. His boat was found empty, and still under power, smashed into rocks in the bay. Despite an intensive air and sea search by H.M. Coastguards, the Looe, Fowey and Plymouth lifeboats, and an RAF rescue helicopter, Daniel's body has not, so far, been recovered.

     Daniel Kebble, whose tragic death prompted the Lifejackets Campaign
Daniel Kebble, the Polperro fisherman tragically lost at sea on 8 January 2000 A memorial service for Daniel was held on Saturday 29 January in Talland Church which overlooks the bay where the tragedy occurred. Over 500 people signed the book of condolence at the church - a measure of the impact of this sad event on a small community.

Daniel's death, and that of seven fishermen from the southern Scotland port of Wigtown, represents a terrible start to the new millennium. Around 35 of Britain's professional fishermen die each year in accidents at sea.

The risks to lone fishermen - and to all at sea

Out of necessity, many fishermen put to sea single-handed, especially for in-shore or coastal fishing and they are, of course, particularly vulnerable as they have no companion to save them if they lose balance, or are knocked overboard by equipment or heavy seas.

Many, maybe most, do not wear life-jackets - often finding them difficult to work in - and there has also been something of a shared "macho" bravado not to wear them.

Now, in the wake of this local tragedy which has had a profound impact on the Polperro community, and on fishermen around the coast of Cornwall, a campaign has been launched to persuade all fishermen - professional and leisure - to wear life-jackets whilst on their boats, and to do so whether they are alone or in company.

Practical solutions are available - and can avoid tragedies

Whilst the Board of Trade life-jackets do restrict movement to some extent, there are life-jackets available which are practical to wear and which would save lives. Whilst the primary purpose of the campaign is to ensure that no more Polperro or Cornish fishermen lose their lives whilst at sea, its secondary purpose is to avoid their loved ones having to go through the trauma of bereavement as has been suffered in Polperro since 8 January.

Please also see our News Page for coverage of the presentation of safety equipment to the Ryder lifeboat crew at Polperro - click here.

Bob Tarr, webmaster, www.polperro.org   February 5 2000.

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