The 2023 Man Overboard Challenge also took place at NMCI, Cork.

Water safety challenge to save lives

A Man Overboard Challenge will be held in Cork in February aimed to save lives for those working on or close to the sea.

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s seafood development agency has again joined forces with the RNLI to run a number of challenges in 2024, including one at the National Maritime College of Ireland, Ringaskiddy, on Wednesday 14 February.

The free one-day experience is open to anyone working on board a fishing vessel, or shoreside, including those in the aquaculture sector.

The sessions are designed to mimic a realistic incidence of falling into cold sea conditions, wearing full work clothing and without a personal floatation device (PFD), or lifejacket as they are commonly known.

This is then followed by the same experience with a correctly fitted PFD, to show the importance and impact of wearing the right equipment.

Although the conditions are controlled and undertaken under the watchful eye of experienced RNLI trainers, they provide a lifelike experience, simulating how work clothing, oilskins, and boots affect a person’s buoyancy, coupled with challenging sea conditions. The sessions also underpin the importance of having and following your man overboard recovery plan.

Ian Mannix, Skills Manager with BIM said: “Safety at sea cannot be underestimated. When something goes wrong in the water, things can turn lethal in a heartbeat.

“Being prepared, knowing the correct procedures and wearing a correctly fitted personal floatation device is paramount for survival. This Man Overboard Challenge will ensure you have lived experience that sets you up for survival. I urge anyone in the fishing and aquaculture sectors to sign up.”

This year, BIM and the RNLI are also welcoming those who would like to join as observers to the sessions.

Frankie Horne, Fishing Safety Manager, RNLI, delivers the course and he said: “Sometimes watching a person go through this visceral experience and witnessing how challenging it is to stay afloat without a PFD can help drive the message home. Almost 50% of fatalities at sea in recent years were because of accidental immersion or man overboard (MOB). When you go overboard, capable people, become incapable very quickly. Be rigged and ready.”

For more information visit or

Places can be booked by contacting Linda-Gene Byrne on or ringing Linda on 087-8527626.