Buying a boat is an exciting step in your angling journey, but safety should be a priority from the beginning to ensure you don’t end up on the news for the wrong reasons. It is saddening to hear about disastrous boating accidents, and even sadder to hear that many of them could have been prevented!
Starting with life jackets, they may not seem necessary to those who are strong swimmers, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. If you’re suddenly thrown out of the boat while underway and hit the water with such force as to knock you unconscious, without floatation you could drown. This is where good quality PFDs are invaluable. The Burke PFD - Level 50 is a good model with adequate floatation, however if you don’t want to wear a cumbersome jacket, the Relaxn Auto Inflate Life Jacket Blue can also be comfortably worn while you’re fishing. Even just wearing your PFD while underway will increase your safety tenfold.
Kill switch layards are another must when you’re underway, as if the above scenario or something similar plays out, your boat won’t continue running until it’s out of reach while you’re left treading water, or worse, circle back and cause you harm. Get yourself in the habit of wearing the kill switch lanyard when you’re on the move.
While not a legal requirement everywhere, bailers are good to have on board. At the very least, they can keep you afloat until help arrives should your boat start leaking for whatever reason.
Another small precaution a new boatie can take is to make sure you are able to re-enter your boat if you fall out. Again, this may sound unnecessary, but if you can’t climb back in after you’ve fallen out you’ll be virtually helpless until someone arrives.
These are just the very basics, and don’t take into account those wishing to travel offshore. In the offshore zone, things like EPIRBs, flares and radios become part of the safety package and in some instances a legal requirement.Make sure you take boat safety seriously, and remember that the more preventative measures you have in place, the safer and happier you and your crew will be on the water, and to never let your guard down, even in areas where you think you’re totally safe. You’re the skipper, you’re responsible.
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