Safe Fishing and Boating Tips to Remember This Summer
I, Matthew Davies, am incredibly excited about the start of the boating season. This past week was boating week in most of the United States. While I did not participate, primarily due to the fact I am still trying to get my boat seaworthy again, seeing others participate made me all the more eager to get out on the water. While I am excited to go fishing in my new boat, I know that safety is the number one priority. In this blog, I will address several ways you can ensure you are boating safely, including abiding by the local boating guidelines, as well as monitoring boat ramp closures and best practices for maintaining social distance on the water.
Is It Safe?
Despite social distancing requirements in place in many parts of the country in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, fishing and boating are considered safe activities. I would just like to take this opportunity to remind you that practicing social distance is your friend here. As most boaters and fishermen do not wish to get close to each other (it prevents others from having fun or catching fish), it is not really a problem. That being said, if you are taking friends out on the boat, you need to have the right supplies to keep you safe. These include masks, disinfectant wipes, and some means for washing your hands.
Tips for Being Safe on the Water
The big weekend has finally arrived. You and your friends are going out to do some long overdue fishing. There are a few things you need to remember before heading out to the lake. The list below will aid you in being prepared for anything mother nature might throw at you.
- Pack ahead of time – Save time and money and do all your shopping before the big day. Shopping for bait and tackle the day of the fishing trip is just as bad as going to the store when you are hungry. You will end up buying things that you may not need or want. In your excitement, you may get caught up in the glitz and glamour. So, get that shopping trip in before you spend hundreds of dollars on equipment you may never use.
- Have your boating license – On the off chance that the authorities stop you, they will want to verify that you have a license to pilot your craft. This is nothing more than a formality. There are not classes you will have to take, but it will cost you a bit of money. The license is more proof that you have the boat registered in the area you are using it in. You don’t want to have to end up paying a fine when you are just out trying to have fun with your friends.
- Location is important – When you plan your trip, while it may sound like fun, you do not want to go to any lake, or any other body of water, that is secluded or remote. The reason for this is that when you are that far out, it could take time for help to arrive if you have a problem. Sticking to the places where it is easier for help to get to you is the key here. Even when you are in a popular lake, there are plenty of places you can go that will keep you away from other boaters or fishermen. All you have to do is look for them.
- Check the local boat safety regulations – Some places require the use of personal flotation devices (PFDs) for every person on the boat. Other locations only require them for persons under a certain age. Do you need to have a sound-producing device? These are used to signal for help when and if something were to happen. In most cases, it is a whistle. Do you need to have a first aid kit? While I think it is a great idea to have one at all times, you may or may not be required to have one. Each state has different regulations. Also, make sure to check the local laws and even lake specific requirements. You want to make sure the only thing you are taking home is fish, not a big fine for not having something you should have when a simple internet search would have saved you the hassle.
- Specifics on COVID items – While I already told you to make sure you have ways to clean up while you are on the water and to keep as much distance as possible, there are a few other things you should keep in mind. While it is fine to have a couple of friends to share the experience with, make sure you are limiting the number of households that are involved in the equation. It is recommended by government officials that you should limit gatherings to no more than three households. Personally, I would limit them to my immediate family in my house for the time being. However, if you do go with others, never share sunscreen or any other toiletries. Every member of the fishing party should bring their own supplies. Doing this will keep everyone safe and COVID-free.
Fishing and boating are things that I, Matthew Davies, look forward to each year. This year is presenting us with a few unique challenges. Proper planning will make sure that everyone comes home in the same condition they left in. If there were one takeaway from this blog, I would say it would have to be stay informed. Inform yourself of not only the fishing regulations in the state, city, or lake you plan on fishing in, but also make sure you are reading on the legality of the number of people you can have on your boat. These will be available on several government websites. Remember, the goal is to have fun, not to have anyone injured or sick. I wish you the best of luck out there and happy fishing!