Commercial fishing has a high accident rate compared to other industries. In the Nordic countries, analyses show a decline or stagnation in personal accidents in fisheries during the past few years. However, our knowledge of "what works" in preventing accidents in this branch is limited. This article explores fishers' perceptions of preventive measures. A survey where fishers graded the importance of different safety measures was carried out in Norway, Finland, the Faroe Islands, Denmark and Iceland. The responses of 47 fishers from different types of fleet groups have been analysed and compared. Most of the respondents were skippers, and all had at least 10 years' experience in commercial fishing. The comparison revealed many similarities between the countries. Three measures were considered particularly important for safety; safety culture on board, safety equipment and design and layout of vessels. Fishers in all countries found advice from trade unions or other organizations and guidelines and information from the authorities less important. The efficiency of safety measures depends on implementation, and thus on how workers perceive them. Knowledge of what fishers find useful is therefore valuable for future efforts to reduce risk in occupational fishing. This study indicates that guidance as well as involving fishers in the development and implementation of safety measures is an approach worth recommending.