Statement of purpose Mobile technology is being used to develop innovative safety interventions for a variety of workplaces. We assessed the potential for using such technology to improve safety in commercial fishing, one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. Technology adoption theories suggest that experienced mobile device users would be more likely to adopt a new app than inexperienced individuals. In this analysis we examined commercial fishermen’s current use of mobile devices and safety-related apps during their usual fishing operations.
Methods/Approach Participants were commercial fishing vessel captains who owned an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. As part of a study field-testing two novel mobile apps, we collected information about participants’ prior mobile device use and app use during typical fishing operations, as well as their interest in such apps more generally.
Results Of the 52 participants who completed all stages of the study, 86.5% (n=45) reported ever having used a mobile device while out at sea, 59.6% (n=31) reported using apps to help them with their commercial fishing work, and 25.0% (n=13) reported using safety-related apps either at work or on their own time.
Conclusion Among commercial fishing captains with a smartphone or tablet, a majority have used at least one mobile device during fishing operations. More than half already use mobile apps to help them with their fishing work, and one quarter already use some kind of safety-related mobile apps.
Significance Many commercial fishing captains use a smartphone or tablet while fishing at least some of the time, and a substantial proportion of them already use apps for fishing or safety purposes. These findings suggest that commercial fishing workers are experienced mobile device users who are open to using safety-related apps. Mobile apps are therefore a promising avenue for delivering safety interventions to this population.
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