SAFETY FISHING AND BOATING TIPS
WHAT TO DO IF CAUGHT IN FOUL WEATHER
Boating safety is probably the most imperative subject on this website and can not be stressed enough, always and I do mean always abide by all boating laws and safety while fishing whether in a tournament or just out for a weekend of enjoyment on the water.
Put on personal flotation devices (PFDs) and make sure they are properly secured.
Seek shelter in advance of a storm. If caught out in a thunderstorm, stay low in the middle of the vessel.
If there is fog, sound your fog horn.
Head for the nearest shore that is safe to approach.
Head the bow into the waves at a 45 degree angle. PWC should head into the waves at a 90 degree angle.
Seat passengers on the bottom of the vessel, as close to the centerline as possible.
Secure loose items. Have emergency gear ready.
Keep the bilge free of water.
If the engine stops, drop anchor from the bow. If you have no anchor use a ďsea anchorĒ, which is anything (a bucket on a line, a tackle box) that will create drag, and hold the bow into the wind.
Prevent persons falling overboard by not allowing anyone on board to:
Sit on the gunwale, bow, seat backs or any other area not designed for seating.
Sit on pedestal seats when underway at greater than idle speed.
Stand up in or lean out from the vessel.
Move about the vessel when underway.
If someone on your vessel falls overboard, immediately:
Throw the victim a PFD.
Turn the vessel around and carefully pull alongside the victim, approaching the victim from downwind.
Stop the engine. Pull the victim on board over the stern, keeping the weight in the vessel balanced.
CAPSIZING OR SWAMPING
To prevent the chance of capsizing or swamping:
Donít overload your vessel. Balance the load.
Turn your vessel at controlled speeds.
Anchor to the bow of the vessel, never to the stern.
Donít boat in rough water or bad weather.
If you should capsize or swamp your vessel, or if you have fallen out and canít get back in, stay with the vessel. Your swamped vessel will signal that you are in trouble.
If the vessel remains afloat, try to reboard.
If the vessel is overturned or swamped, hang onto or climb onto it.
It will support you, saving loss of energy from treading water. It is critical to get as much of your body out of the water as possible if the water is cold.
If the vessel sinks or floats away, donít panic.
If you are wearing a PFD, make sure it is securely fastened, remain calm, and wait for help.
If you arenít wearing a PFD, look for one on the water or for other buoyant items to use as a flotation device.
If there is no other means of support, then you may have to tread water or simply float. In cold water, float rather than tread to reduce hypothermia.
Always dress according to the water temperature as well as the air temperature and be prepared for being immersed in cold water. Dress to protect areas of high heat loss (head, neck, sides and groin). Dress in several layers of clothing under your PFD or if you are going to be in contact with cold water, wear a wetsuit or dry suit.
Learn to recognize the symptoms of hypothermia. Symptoms begin with shivering and bluish lips and nails, and progress to a coma and, ultimately, death.
Picture of person in the Heat Escape Lessening Posture To reduce the effects of hypothermia when trapped in water because of an accident:
Remember the importance of reboarding your vesselóget as much of your body out of the water as possible.
Donít take your clothes off unless absolutely necessary. Remember, clothes trap heat and can help you float.
Donít thrash or move about. Excess motion consumes energy and increases loss of body heat.
Always wear a PFD. It helps you to float without excessive movement and insulates your body. It allows you to draw your knees to your chest and your arms to your sides in the Heat Escape Lessening Posture, protecting the major areas of heat loss.
If there are other people in the water with you, huddle together with your arms around their shoulders.
These huddles are good for the morale of those in the water.
Also, rescuers can spot them easier than individuals.