Boating On Busy Waterways
While fishing can be a fun activity for the whole family it also puts you in a position that can become dangerous if you are not prepared. No matter how much time you have spend on or around the water it should never be underestimated. To ensure you can be prepared for all your fishing (or camping) adventures and be safe on the water we have decided to do a blog series on some items often overlooked or misunderstood by anglers / boaters that can leave you unprepared in an emergency or put you in dangerous situations.
Before heading out on some busy waterways there are a number of steps you need to take and be comfortable with to avoid putting yourself in a potentially dangerous situation:
1. Know the rules - Have your license, know how to navigate the waterway, and legal requirements.
2. Don't expect others to know the rules, don't expect them to do the right thing.
3. Give as much space as possible - The easiest way to avoid conflict is to stay away. Give others as much space as possible to avoid potential for conflicts or dangerous encounters. This includes other boaters, paddlers, people on shore, docks, and hazard markers.
4. Try not to follow in someones wake - Following in someones wake tends to make you stop thinking for yourself and prevents you from seeing what is coming ahead. If you do have to stay in someones wale stay well back and expect them to stop at any time.
5. Always check behind you before slowing down - if other boaters are following close in your wake and travelling at speed they may not see you slowing down. This can put you in a bad situation. A quick check behind you before slowing down can help avoid getting run over by the boater following too close
6. If you don't know; go slow. - Most accidents happen on the water from driving where you shouldn't. This can be from shallow water hazards as well as docks, unexpected turns, or other obstacles. Speed is the main reason for not being able to avoid these hazards and leads to damage or injury. Most loss of control incidents occur due to speed and waves. On busy waterways the colliding wakes from different boats in all directions can make this even more likely. Avoid passing at bad opportunities and slow down as you get out of the wake. Hitting it too fast can causer the boat to lose control, jump, or dig into the wake which can cause you to lose control or even get thrown from the boat.
7. Be mindful of main travel routes - Avoid cutting across traffic whenever possible. In addition don't stop to fish in a main travel route or tight areas. Yes you have every right to but this increases the risk that YOU end up in an accident exponentially. If you do plan to fish these areas you need exceptional boat control and to be vigilant to get out of others way. Finally, people crusing arent expecting to come up on a stopped boat. If you are going to be stopped or slow moving stay out of the main path and go closer to shore. Especially if you are taking time to look for somthing, read a map, or general not paying attention to surroundings.
8. Stay away from water sporters - There is always potential for those to fall off or driver to send tube your way. Just stay away to avoid potential for accidents. Water sporters are also most likely to end up in accidents on the water due to the nature of the activity.
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