Commercial Fishing Vessel Safe Work Guidance

The Workers Compensation Board urges the Captain and crew to follow directives of the PEI Chief Public Health Office during the COVID-19 pandemic.  During this time, all people on board must place an increased focus on the COVID-19 Safe Work Protocols to help keep workers safe and the fishing industry operating without interruption. The captain and crew of commercial fishing vessels must follow directives issued by the Chief Public Health Officer.

Safe Practices

The following safe practices will help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Prior to Boarding the Vessel

  • Avoid carpooling from different households when traveling to and from the vessel.
  • Implement physical distancing practices (2m) when performing work activities on the wharf. Minimize the crew and other workers time performing tasks on the wharf where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Implement a policy requiring anyone with symptoms of illness to notify their employer, immediately self-isolate and call 811.
    • Symptoms include cough, headache, runny nose, weakness, fever or chills, runny nose, sore throat and/or shortness of breath.
    • Workers, who develop symptoms associated with COVID-19 while on the vessel, should immediately self-isolate and be brought back to the wharf where they will return to their residence, immediately self-isolate and call 811.
    • Contact the Chief Public Health Office to determine which crew members are considered close contacts of the ill worker.
  • In addition to routine cleaning, all areas of the vessel where an ill worker had contact should be cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the vessel sanitation plan.
  • Perform a daily pre-board screening that includes asking the following questions to crew members;
    • Are you or anyone in your household currently experiencing cough, headache, runny nose, weakness, fever or chills, runny nose, sore throat and/or shortness of breath?
    • Have you recently been in close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19?
    • Have you, or any of your household members, recently travelled outside of the province?

If the captain or crew answers yes to any of these questions, they should not report to work. Furthermore, if the Captain or crew is experiencing symptoms or has been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 they should return home to self-isolate and call 811.

  • Promote hand washing or sanitizing prior to boarding and throughout the duration of the trip.

While On Board the Vessel

  • Operate the vessel with the minimum number of crew possible to safely carry out fishing activities.  Limit access to crew members only.
  • Ensure soap and water for hand washing or hand sanitizer is readily available on the vessel and is conveniently located.
  • Assign work activities in a manner that allows the crew to maintain physical distancing (2m).  Minimize the crew’s work time performing tasks where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Stagger the crew’s time in the vessel’s cabin to maintain physical distancing (2m).
  • Do not share personal protective equipment, clothing, or gloves.
  • Gloves should be worn at all times when carrying out work activities.
  • Cups, cutlery and plates must not be shared and must be thoroughly cleaned each day.
  • Clean and disinfect shared equipment, frequently touched surfaces (handles, steering wheel, knives, etc.), washrooms and galley areas regularly with an approved cleaner and disinfectant.
  • Take shifts sleeping in individually identified cabin areas on overnight trips.
  • The captain and crew should remain on board the vessel while offloading their catch or maintain physical distancing (2m) at all times from others on the wharf.


Published date: 
May 14, 2020
Health and Wellness

General Inquiries

Department of Health and Wellness
4th Floor North, Shaw Building
105 Rochford Street
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-6414
Fax: 902-368-4121