SEAFARERS have been urged to wear lifejackets, following an apparent tragedy off the Sunshine Coast, where a 48-year-old mariner was lost overboard from a fishing trawler on Monday.

According to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, the man had not been found despite exhaustive search and rescue efforts, and was presumed dead.

AMSA manager of operations north, Greg Witherall, said two AMSA officers attended the trawler K-Vern on Tuesday to inspect the vessel and conduct interviews with the crew.

“While it’s too early to go into the details of this investigation, there is an important safety message that needs to be heard,” Mr Witherall said.

“The person who went overboard was not wearing a lifejacket.”

Mr Witherall said the trawler’s crew did everything to save their mate, including throwing floatation devices into the water and immediately turning the boat around to search for him.

“What we know from similar incidents, is that people who go overboard wearing a lifejacket have far better survival rates than those who are not,” Mr Witherall said.

“It’s really that simple.”


Mr Witherall said there was some resistance among commercial fishermen who felt lifejackets were uncomfortable to wear for extended periods of time at sea.

“I say to them, don’t risk your life for the sake of comfort. There are many types of lifejackets available today, find one that works for you and wear it,” he said.

“When you’re working in an environment that can be as unforgiving as the sea, you should always prepare for the unexpected.”