Put safety first when fishing from boat, shore, or doing other water related activities

  • Published
  • By Edwards Air Force Base
  • Ground Safety Office
No matter what type of boating activity you plan to pursue this summer, please put safety first, and don't be lulled into a sense of false security by seemingly benign boating activities.
Fishing, for example, might seem much safer than some other water sports, such as wakeboarding or waterskiing. Yet it accounts for more than half of all fatal boating accidents, according to the National Safety Council.

The U. S. Census Bureau lists 28 million serious fishermen and 45 million casual fishermen in the United States. Whether your fishing is casual or serious, don't let your fishing trip end in tragedy.

Follow these boating safety tips:

1. Excitement brings fishermen to their feet, and any unexpected movement can pitch a boat occupant overboard or swamp the boat. If you must stand to keep a line from fouling, your companion should stay seated.
2. When alone in a boat, and moving forward for any reason, step on the boat bottom, and keep low, with one hand on the gunwale.
3. Sit down to pull a starter rope.
5. Always remain vigilant while running at full throttle on the way to a fishing area or heading home. Keep a sharp watch for rocks, floating debris, and other boats.
6. Don't operate the boat at dusk without your warning lights on.
7. Respect bad weather; head for home when a storm threatens.
8. Carry spare gasoline, but don't fill your spare gas can full. Allow for expansion. Don't smoke while refueling.
9. Wear an approved life jacket.

Now for a list of things to avoid - steer clear of these 10 easy ways to sink a boat:

1. Don't bother with life preservers - They don't look very glamorous.
2. Take along all the passengers who want to go. So what if the boat is a little crowded.
3. Drive your boat as fast as possible. It's no fun to just poke along. Go ahead; see what she'll really do.
4. Encourage your passengers to stand up, stretch their legs, and get a better view.
5. Enjoy a cigarette while you're refueling.
6. Extra gear like an anchor, oars, boathooks, lines, a fire extinguisher, tools and first aid kits just clutter up the boat. Leave them at home.
7. Don't bother to check the weather forecasts. Anybody can see whether or not the sky is blue, and it looks like a good day.
8. If you are boating at night, don't worry about lights. There might be a full moon.
9. It isn't important to know the rules of the waterways. The other boats will get out of the way, or else you can move to one side or the other.
10. Don't learn how to swim and don't worry about first aid training. What possible use would you have for artificial respiration?

Following are some safety tips to follow if you're walking to a fishing destination:

1. Wear suitable shoes or boots when hiking to and from the lake or stream.
2. Hip boots and waders are designed to keep you dry. If they become full of water, they are a hazard because they could hinder your recovery if you should fall. Hip boots should have a quick release on them.
3. When wading in streams, be alert. The rushing water makes it difficult to estimate the depth of the water.
4. Get out of the stream or river if it starts to rain. A flash flood can occur as quickly as lightning.
5. Have a clear area when casting, both front and rear. Look out for others and don't snag them with your hook. If this happens, cut the line and seek the nearest medical help.
6. Keep your hooks and lures in a metal or plastic container in your tackle box.
7. Carry a small first aid packet in your tackle box. It might come in handy.
8. When you put the worm on the hook, look out for the barb.
9. Finally, when you take your young son or daughter fishing, be sure to explain the safety principles as you go along. They will grow up to be much better fishermen.