Fisherman’s Life Vest

The process of setting and hauling in the huge nets aboard factory trawlers can be dangerous, and safety measures are followed to minimize the risk of injury or loss of life. When working on the fish deck, the deckhands wear personal flotation devices, or PFDs, over their clothing.
This vest is Type III, U.S. Coast Guard approved PFD, and is appropriate for calm waters, or where the chance for a quick rescue is high. It was worn in such conditions by a deckhand working aboard the catcher-processor Alaska Ocean in the North Pacific about 50 miles west of Seattle in June 2007.
Made of bright orange nylon, the vest has the required reflective panels and a battery-operated light to aid would-be rescuers. While the life vest would provide its wearer flotation, it would not protect a person overboard in cold or rough waters for long. The vessel carries immersion suits for everyone aboard and conducts regular safety drills at which people from all areas of the ship practice putting on the suits quickly.
The Alaska Ocean itself is a 376-foot-long vessel in the Seattle-based catcher-processor fleet. Workers catch, process, package, and freeze groundfish—mostly pollock and Pacific whiting—in the Bering Sea and in the waters off the coast of the Pacific Northwest.
Object Name
date made
ca 2007
Physical Description
nylon (overall material)
overall: 21 in x 25 in x 2 1/2 in; 53.34 cm x 63.5 cm x 6.35 cm
Place Made
United States: Minnesota, Sauk Rapids
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Industry & Manufacturing
Natural Resources
Clothing & Accessories
Contemporary United States
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
On the Water
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Alaska Ocean through Jeff Hendricks
Publication title
On the Water online exhibition
Publication URL
Additional Media

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