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.

Date Made: ca 2007

Maker: Stearns

Related Event: Contemporary United States

Subject: Fishing, Fishing

See more items in: Work and Industry: Maritime, Clothing & Accessories, Work, Industry & Manufacturing, Natural Resources

Exhibition: On the Water

Exhibition Location: National Museum of American History

Related Web Publication:

Related Publication: On the Water online exhibition

Credit Line: Alaska Ocean through Jeff Hendricks

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2007.0178.08Catalog Number: 2007.0178.08Accession Number: 2007.0178

Object Name: lifevest

Physical Description: nylon (overall material)Measurements: overall: 21 in x 25 in x 2 1/2 in; 53.34 cm x 63.5 cm x 6.35 cm


Record Id: nmah_1330188

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