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Pioneering GPS lifejacket scheme for Plymouth fishermen

A new GPS system that designed to help find people overboard. Photo: ITV West Country

Fishermen in Plymouth are being offered lifejackets fitted with GPS technology which could help save lives.

It is the first city in the country to provide them for free and is part of a drive from the council to encourage more fishermen to wear them.

Maxine Prowse says fishermen should have to wear a lifejacket out at sea. Credit: ITV West Country

Maxine Prowse lost her son in a fishing accident 4 years ago. Robert was not wearing a lifejacket when his boat went down. His body is still missing.

Robert Prowse was lost at sea - he wasn't wearing a lifejacket. Credit: ITV West Country

Many fishermen choose not to wear them because they believe if they go overboard they will die anyway, however Plymouth City Council are issuing ones fitted with personal locater beacons.

Despite being the most dangerous job in Britain only one in five fishermen actually wear a lifejacket.

It is hoped the new lifejackets fitted with tracking devices will change the way fishermen feel about wearing them.

The device works in exactly the same way as the Sat Navs in our cars - using GPS technology to pinpoint exactly where we are - but in this case the technology saves lives

Credit: ITV West Country

Clive Pulfrey has worked in the fishing industry for 20 years. He says the new technology could be a game changer.

These things are rapid and maydays don’t get out quick enough if at all but with this, they know where to look.

– Clive Pulfrey

So far, they are proving to be quite popular.

This year 9 fishermen lost their lives –the highest in a decade. Now, the Marine Accident Investigation Branch say wearing a lifejacket should be the law.

Posters can be seen around Sutton Harbour and a number fishermen have already put their names down.

Maxine Prowse says if they help just to save just one life, then her son will not have died in vain.