JONESPORT, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since Maine's economy depends heavily on that industry, keeping commercial fishermen safe has become a big priority. That is why Fishing Partnership Support Services is offering free safety trainings to those at sea.
Falling overboard is a fisherman's worst nightmare, so why did several of them willingly put themselves in that position on Thursday?
It was all part of the Safety and Training survival program designed to help fisherman in dangerous situations.
“So far everything is great, we get great feedback from the fishermen,” said Ed Dennehy, director of the program.
As retired coast guard he knows from experience how dangerous the water can be. That is why he has dedicated his life to helping others stay safe.
“Most of them have never done that before so it's a real eye opener for them. Kind of brings home the lesson we're trying to impart on them,” he said.
Commercial fishing in Maine generates nearly 26 thousand jobs, according to Coastal Enterprises. And between 2010 and 2015, 545 of them died on the job. However, those statistics haven't stopped young fisherman like, Marc Crowley, from carrying on the family business.
“I have my own boat too. Sometimes I just take a day off and go in my boat,” he said.
Fishing is his passion but he wants to make sure he's doing everything the right way.
From hoisting himself onto the life raft to properly signaling for help, he said he is more prepared to handle any situation and it was not as scary as he thought.
“I thought it was going to be worse,” he said. “I thought I was going to get wet but I didn't get wet that much.”
Now he and the 51 other fishermen that attended are ready for a safe summer at sea. And Dennehy will be able to sleep a little better at night.
“Knowing that what we're telling them and what we're teaching them is practical and they're using that in situations... that's really satisfying,” he said.
The free training is offered 8 times in the Spring and Dennehy suggests all fishermen should take advantage of it at least two or three times.