Before you even think about getting into a boat you must understand the dangers. Most UK predator anglers will fish all through the winter which means that the risks are increased significantly. Life jackets are essential all year round and floatation suits are advisable in winter. This US Coast Guard video shows the reasons why!

I have decided to update this page after another tragic death involving a boat angler; sometimes events are unavoidable but there are certain precautions that could make the difference between life or death.

I have to admit to having strong feelings on this subject and every year I hear of anglers drowning due to a boating accident. I still see anglers boat fishing without life jackets, the 1:10:1 rule in the video explains why this is madness - modern life jackets are so small now and the wearer soon forgets that he has one on.

I have put together a few precautions that I feel are compulsory if you are planning to fish from a boat, more so in winter. Some of text has web links to the items described:

  • Always wear a Life Jacket or at least some sort of buoyancy aid- there is no exception to this rule unless you have a death wish. Ensure it is fastened, fitted correctly and always wear a crotch strap to prevent it rising above your head !
  • Consider wearing a Floatation Suit in winter, it will give you vital time preventing the onset of hypothermia should you go overboard
  • Keep your mobile phone in a Waterproof Pouch around your neck, then it will be with you and usable should you go overboard
  • Always carry a set of oars in case your outboard motor fails
  • Use the outboard motor “dead man’s kill switch” attached to your wrist, this stops the motor should you become separated from your boat
  • Carry a Fixed Blade Knife, to cut the anchor rope in an emergency, if a drifting log or other large debris tangles with your anchor rope it will drag the front of your boat down
  • Have a plan of how to physically climb back into your boat should you go over board.
  • Carry a spare set of dry clothes in case of an emergency, hypothermia will still set in if you do get yourself warm after immersion
  • Always tell someone, a friend or family member, where you are fishing that day - emergency services will know where to look should you not arrive home
  • Ensure you are using a sensible sized boat for the water you are fishing e.g. a small boat which might be suitable for a small water will be totally unsuitable and very dangerous for a large reservoir or glacial lake
  • Do not feel embarrassed to make the call and cancel a trip if the water conditions are not safe - stormy weather, severe flooding etc. use common sense

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