A fisherman who died after falling overboard may have lived if he had been wearing a life jacket, a sheriff has ruled.
Gerard Gillies, 42, plunged from his ship while fishing near Barra in the Western Isles.
He was rescued from the sea by crewmates after the incident aboard the 33ft long Annie T vessel in October 2015.
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Mr Gillies, of Vatersay, was working on deck when his foot was caught on a moving rope and he was dragged overboard.
He could not swim and did not wear a life jacket while working on board.
A desperate bid to save Mr Gillies was made by skipper Alastair MacNeil who threw a rope and a life ring towards his stricken crewman and pulled him closer to the boat but Mr Gillies could not hold on.
His body was pulled back aboard by Mr MacNeil who made a desperate attempt to save him by performing CPR until a lifeboat arrived.
He was taken to hospital by helicopter but later died.
A fatal accident inquiry into his death at Lochmaddy Sheriff Court has now ruled his death may have been prevented if he had been wearing a life jacket.
In a written ruling, Sheriff Christopher Dickson said all creel fishermen should read industry safety notes, review working systems and devise a system to avoid contact with moving equipment.
But he ruled against making a formal ruling that life jacket wearing become mandatory because of advice already in place from marine authorities.
He said: “I determine that the wearing of a life jacket was a precaution that could reasonably have been taken and that, had it been taken, might realistically have resulted in Mr Gillies’ death being avoided.
“In the circumstances, I determine that the precaution that could reasonably have been taken which might realistically have resulted in the accident resulting in death being avoided was a system of work that avoided the need for Mr Gillies to manually handle the end weight along the deck of the Annie T to the transom opening at the stern of the vessel and thereby avoid the risk of coming into contact with a moving rope on the deck of the vessel.”
Sheriff Dickson added: “At the outset of the inquiry I extended my condolences to Mr Gillies’ family. I wish to formally repeat my condolences in this determination.”