by Steve ‘Starlo’ Starling •
A few very basic steps can not only improve your enjoyment of summertime fishing, but also dramatically reduce the likelihood of injury from accidents and mishaps.
The summer ‘silly season,’ school holidays and long-awaited annual work vacations are fast approaching for a large percentage of the Australian population – this is perhaps a timely opportunity for a gentle reminder about common sense steps and simple precautions that will not only enhance personal comfort and safety on or beside the water, but could actually save a life… maybe even your own!
If we’re completely honest, no one really enjoys a safety briefing. Most of us automatically tune out the moment an airline steward launches into a well rehearsed pre-flight briefing. Yet, just a few minutes attention at such times can actually make a huge difference in the “unlikely event of an emergency.” The same is true with simple safety procedures surrounding fishing and boating activities. Here’s a dozen vital tips you can read and share with others.
ANYWHERE AROUND THE WATER
Be sun smart – cover up, wear a hat and quality sunglasses, regularly apply an SPF 30+ sunscreen lotion to any exposed skin. Know at least basic first aid and resuscitation procedures. Have access to a well-stocked first aid kit. If you can’t swim, never go fishing alone! Better yet, learn to swim… Tell someone responsible where you’re going, when you expect to return and how you can be contacted.
ON THE OCEAN ROCKS
Observe your chosen spot for at least 20 minutes from a safe vantage point before venturing out to it. Dress appropriately for that spot – wear shoes or sandals with good grip and loose-fitting, lightweight clothing you can easily swim in. Seriously consider wearing an approved PFD or floatation vest, even if doing so is not mandated by law. Carry a throw-able floatation aid or buoy attached to a 20m length of light rope.
BOAT AND KAYAK FISHING
Wear an approved PFD, buoyancy vest or life jacket whenever and wherever mandated by law, but also at any other time of increased risk. Carry at least twice as much drinking water and fuel (in a power boat) as you think you’ll need. Check all your safety gear at the beginning of the season and replace anything that’s damaged or out of date.
Know the rules of the water, watch out for others and be easily seen yourself. Operate navigation lights in low light or poor visibility. None of these things are rocket science, but I’m constantly amazed at how many people flout, forget or ignore them on a regular basis. We like all our readers, so please take care out there.
Enjoy the silly season, rather than regretting it!