Background Over 37 million people are involved in fishing occupation worldwide, around 90% are from Asia. Bangladesh is a riverine country bordering with the Bay of Bengal where fishing is a vulnerable occupation as they exposed to water related risks and affected by disaster. There is limited information on drowning and its health consequences among fishermen. The objectives of the study were to explore the barriers of safety practices and identifying health-seeking behavior of the fishermen in coastal Bangladesh.
Methods A qualitative study was conducted between October-November 2016 deploying IDIs, FGDs with fishermen, lenders and boat owners along with fishing practices observations. Transcribed data were coded into NVIVO-11, then analyzed by thematic contents.
Results Fishermen mentioned they prioritized livelihoods over their safety. Instability in work and financial hardship contributed to risk-taking behavior of fishermen. They usually went for fishing in sea as forced by boat-owners or local lenders from whom taking loan for fishing-net. Many women engaged in fishing with their young children and faced drowning-risks because their traditional cloths restricted free-movement in water. Fishermen usually carried first-aid box in sea, but those were not sufficient. Most of the fishermen didn’t have adequate knowledge on CPR, used traditional methods in case of any drowning-case.
Conclusion Fishing occupation is high exposure to drowning risks in the coastal region of Bangladesh.
Learning Outcomes Legislation on carrying life-saving equipment on fishing boats and training on resuscitation of post drowning during fishing in sea would be crucial intervention to reduce drowning among the fishermen.