Seventy fishing vessels are set to be outfitted with emergency position indicating radio beacons this season.
The Labrador Fishermen's Union Shrimp Company is outfitting dozens of vessels between Cartwright and L'Anse au Clair that are under 40 feet and harvesting for them.
The TSB report found the Sarah Anne was not equipped with a vessel monitoring system. The director of marine investigation said the absence of life-saving equipment and distress alerting devices has contributed to 42 deaths from 2010 to 2020.
"We've come to a time when we feel that somebody has to take the initiative," Gilbert Linstead, general manager of the Labrador Fishermen's Union Shrimp Company, told CBC News.
The devices transmit signals to a satellite, which alerts search and rescue services in case of an emergency at sea and allows them to pinpoint the beacon's location. Linstead said the company's board brought the idea forward after the fishermen were concerned about recent accidents.
"The larger boats, they already have them on them required by Transport Canada," Linstead said. "The smaller boats didn't have the same requirements. But you know, it's a good thing to have on them. So we've decided to be proactive on it."
The beacons cost roughly $750 each plus tax, he said.
Linstead said while it will be a costly venture for the company — more than $50,000 — it will be worthwhile to have the smaller boats equipped. He said the company does have partners to help and hopes to begin distributing them within the next two weeks.
Loss of Island Lady remains in people's minds: GM
Many people are getting EPIRBs for more than just professional reasons, he said. Two men died after the Island Lady went missing off the coast of Mary's Harbour in September and people are still grieving, he said.
"All of us [are] certainly one big family between Cartwright and L'Anse au Clair. And, you know, we work closely together and we all know each other. No doubt, that one hit us all hard. And we're still feeling the effects of it," Linstead said.
Marc Russell and Joey Jenkins were aboard the Island Lady, a boat smaller than 40 ft, off Mary's Harbour. They were last heard from around 4 p.m. AT on Sept. 17, 2021. Ten days later, the RCMP called off the search.
"We hope this helps somebody in the future and maybe helps to ease the pain of what has already gone on," Linstead said.
Mallory Harrigan is out on her fifth fishing season on a smaller vessel. She said the loss of Russell and Jenkins hit the fishing community hard as they were close friends and family members to many.
She said equipping EPIRBs is a great idea but the cost was a hindrance to getting one sooner because there's insurance, fuel, maintenance, repairs and equipment that are all also needed to operate a vessel. While she hasn't heard when the vessel she works on may get one, she's hopeful it will be before the crab season starts.
"It gives us not only peace of mind in terms of our safety, it makes me feel valuable even though I work on a smaller boat," Harrigan said.