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Boating and Fishing Safely

By Capt. Gus Cane

The first priority for any successful fishing trip is to return to the ramp or marina safely. Coastal waters needn’t be feared, but they sure better be respected.  Accidents, unforeseen equipment failure, and inclement weather can occur without warning, so it’s always prudent to be prepared and protected.

Boating and Fishing Safely first priority for any successful fishing trip is to return to the ramp or marina safely Coastal waters needn’t be feared

Let’s start with the legal requirements. Every state is different, so make sure you have everything necessary. That includes signaling flares (day and night), whistles or horns for sound, a fire extinguisher and life jackets for all on board. Check expirations dates at least once a season and don’t scrimp on costs, especially life jackets. The cheap, orange foam life vests are exactly that—cheap. If storage isn’t an issue, invest in the Type I Offshore jackets and keep them in a spot readily accessible. Auto-inflatable jackets are compact and comfortable to wear but are more expensive and require regular servicing. The Type V inflatable must be worn to be compliant while the Type III must only be accessible. Inspect air bladders and material regularly for rips, tears or rot. Check your state fish and wildlife agency to ensure you’re covered with all the necessary items.

A well-equipped first aid kit is also essential. Make sure it is stocked with bandages, adhesive tape, antibiotic ointment, and pain relievers. A bottle of antiseptic scrub is also good to have aboard for cuts or stab wounds from fish fins, teeth or bait knives.

Even in the cellular age, either a fixed mount or waterproof handheld VHF radio is critical in case of emergencies. VHF frequencies have much greater range and are monitored by the US Coast Guard and local authorities constantly. Cell phones are a good back-up, but spotty coverage and lack of towers in remote areas don’t guarantee dependable communications if you really need help.

Several other items may not be required for legal operation yet are good to have aboard nevertheless. A compact mirror can be seen for miles from the surface or air. A few hand tools like a convertible screwdriver, crescent wrench, needle-nose pliers, heavy-duty pocket knife, prop nut wrench and spare prop/hub kit may come in handy. So will some electricians tape, zip ties, and spare fuses. A sea anchor, which folds and stows easily, tied off the bow will keep it facing into the waves if the engine is inoperable.

Boating and Fishing Safely first priority for any successful fishing trip is to return to the ramp or marina safely Coastal waters needn’t be feared

A towing rider on your insurance policy or enrollment in a service like SeaTow or TowBoat US is a sound investment. But towing vessels may still take time to reach you in an emergency. So make sure your safety gear is current and in working order before you set out and everyone aboard knows where that gear is stowed before leaving the dock. Have fun—and boat safe!

Safety Checklist:

Signal flares

Horn or whistle

Fire extinguisher

Proper life jackets

VHF radio

1st aid kit

Basic tools or multi-tool

Flashlight

Sea anchor

Waterproof navigation chart

Emergency provisions (High-energy protein bars/water bottles in a vacuum-sealed bag)

For more information or to find a dealer nearest you, visit www.skeeterboats.com. Find Skeeter news, team activities, happenings, and events by following us on FacebookTwitterYouTube, and Instagram.

Original Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle.com

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