Three Safety Tips To Safely Get You Through The Spring Fishing/Boating Season
DON'T BE FOOLED -- Little boats. Good fishing. Cold waters. Add it all up and you have a great time to be on the water - just don't let the sunny, warm days fool you.
In many parts of the country, people are asking when did winter end and spring begin? Anglers and boaters are taking advantage of the unusually warm weather, but some may be forgetting that cold waters still lurk beneath the keel. Here are three easy Safety Tips from BoatUS.com/foundation that will help you get safely through the spring fishing and BOATING season.
• Don't allow the warm weather to let your guard down: The air temperatures may be downright balmy, but deceptively cold waters increase the risk of Hypothermia even on a "T-shirt" day. Also remember there may be fewer boats out on the water that could come to your aid. Bring extra layers or change of clothes and rain gear this time of year.
• Plan on how to get back in the boat: If you accidentally went overboard, do you have a way to get back aboard? You may be surprised how hard this can be — especially if you are alone or haven't prepared for it. It could be as simple as having a rope with looped footholds affixed to a cleat that can easily be grabbed from the water. The BoatUS Foundation also tested after-market boarding ladders for small jonboats, RIBs and larger center console boats.
You can view these tests at youtube.com/user/BoatUSFoundation/videos?sort=dd&view=0&page=2 A hardcopy of the tests along with a ranking of the best ladders can also be found at BoatUS.com/foundation/boardingladders.
• Refresh your memory: Take a boating-safety course now from the comfort of your own home. The no-cost BoatUS Foundation Online boating safety course, which is designed so that you can stop and then continue at any time, includes videos that demonstrate important safety devices such as flares, shows the rules of the road, how to get help in an emergency, and the best way to fit a life jacket to a child so they will not slip out. Go to BoatUS.org/onlinecourse. It may also help you save money on boat insurance and meet your state's requirements for boating-safety education.
Also, remember the courses listed on page 3 of this issue; often there are excellent choices from AZGFD, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Phoenix Sail and Power Squadron, the Lake Pleasant Sailing Club, among others.