A safety suit to save thousands of fishermen a year

It’s hard to fathom that around 32,000 fishermen lose their lives each year working in the fishing industry. But, the truth is that many fishermen don’t know how to swim and often shy away from wearing safety equipment due to a lack of comfort. 

KATAIX wants to confront this lack of safety head-on. They believe that being a fisherman should no longer be the most dangerous occupation in the world.

In tight collaboration with the fishermen who will wear it, KATAIX has designed an improved waterproof suit. It incorporates an automatic buoyancy layer that activates when the wearer falls off the boat.

In many ways, the suit performs the same as a standard waterproof working suit. But, this huge improvement in automatic protection means it’s now certified as a rescue device by the Chilean Navy. This enables all crew members on board to wear something comfortable to work while still being protected.

On top of this, KATAIX has developed a service that takes responsibility for the contamination produced by the disposal of work clothes in the fishing industry. Instead of clothes being left on beaches, shores or the bottom of the sea in a linear economy, KATAIX wants to make it circular. 

Broken suits are initially repaired to make the most out of their lifespan and once they’ve reached their limit, they’re then transformed into new products that serve the community.

KATAIX has just been awarded a public tender in Chile to equip fishermen with working clothes. When 5,000 fishermen were asked to choose between a traditional suit and KATAIX, 60% chose KATAIX – and that says a lot about the fishermen’s need and desire for a safer work environment. Currently, KATAIX is protecting 600 Chilean families but, since an average of six Chilean fishermen die every month, the company is striving to safeguard even more.

Designer: Amalia Cubillos - Chile
UN SDGs: Good health and well-being & Decent work and economic growth

KATAIX from The Index Project on Vimeo. Music: Lee Rosevere