A report has highlighted the dangers faced by fishermen working alone following the deaths of two skippers in "entirely avoidable" accidents.
Marine accident investigators have called for existing safety guidance to be extended in the wake of the deaths in October 2010 and January 2011.
Officials found both accidents occurred as a direct result of the working practices being used. A report into the two incidents has now been published by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB).
On January 20, 54-year-old Neil Smith, the lone skipper and owner of the creel boat Breadwinner, was dragged overboard and drowned in an outing five miles east of Score Head, Bressay, Shetland.
Mr Smith's body was recovered eight days later, entangled in a string of creels. The MAIB found there were no measures on the boat to separate crew members from the fishing gear if they had to leave the protection of the wheelhouse during operations.
Around three months earlier, Bruce Pearson, 40, was the lone skipper of the creel boat Discovery when he was lost overboard three miles east of Fraserburgh on October 9 2010. His body has not been found.
Investigators concluded it was likely he had been dragged overboard by a rope as he was hauling in creels.
The report said: "While there were differences in the circumstances that led to each of these fatal accidents, both occurred as a direct result of the working practices that were being used.
"Discovery and Breadwinner were both being operated by lone skippers and there was no support or backup when the fishing operations started to go wrong."
The MAIB said there have been 13 recorded fatalities on UK creel fishing vessels since the beginning of 2007, nine of which were a result of falling or being dragged overboard with the gear.
Of these fatalities, seven were single-handed fishing operations, with no one to witness the accident or provide help.
Steve Clinch, the chief inspector of marine accidents, said the two fatalities covered in the report "brought into sharp focus" the risks involved in single-handed fishing.
He wrote: "All these accidents were entirely avoidable, the common themes being poorly considered working practices and inadequate equipment design."
He added: "The loss of fishermen from the vessels Discovery and Breadwinner were tragic events made more so because those involved had either not recognised the hazards they faced, or tolerated them because they were unable to think of a better way of working."
The report said there was a need to provide lone fishermen with credible advice on safe working.
It recommended that the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) extend its current safety guidance to cover the additional considerations needed for single-handed operations.
The report said: "There is a clear need for safer fishing gear and better guidance on safe working practices, especially for single-handed fishing operators."
The Scottish Fishing Federation is also producing an instructional video on safe working.