Inshore Fishing Safety should be a concern for all fishermen, on my inshore charters, it is a top priority.
Boarding making sure your vessel is cleated off to the floating dock as close a possible to aid in boarding the vessel. Safe boating begins when you step from the dock into the boat. Always try to help or support anyone who is elderly or may have a bad leg or hip. They made need some assistance stepping down from the dock. Mentioned the deck could be slippery first thing in the morning from the dew. All passengers should be advised where the life jackets are stored, children 12 years of age or younger must wear life jackets while underway in the state of North Carolina. Make sure you have enough life preservers for all passengers on board. Do not overload your boat follow the weight and passenger certificate that is attached to your vessel.
Vessels Underway the operator should have passengers sitting when vessels are moving. Your passenger load should be distributed evenly to keep the boat on a level keel. The speed of the boat is an important factor in boat operation, always maintain a speed where you have complete control of your vessel. Every boat operator should be aware of the “Rules of the Road” these rules dictate how vessels respond when meeting and overtaking another vessel. All boat operators should be responsible enough to take time to learn these rules in order to be safe and courteous to other boaters, do not be the idiot on the water.
Lights should always be maintained to be in working condition. These are really important when leaving the dock before sunrise or fishing after sunset. A boat operating with no lights is a hazard to himself and other boaters.
Captain’s Responsibility is to maintain control of the passengers onboard your vessel. Keep them advised of any safety concerns, passengers should keep their feet on the deck, not one foot on the deck and another on the gunnel. Do not let anyone hang their legs over the gunnels, this is extremely important, this could lead to serious injury.
Returning to the dock is a really important aspect of inshore fishing safety when approaching the dock, caution your passengers to stay seated and keep their hands in the boat until the boat is properly tied to the dock, and not to aid you in tying up the boat. Do not let them jump from the boat to the dock, this is extremely hazardous.
Lesson learned through experience, not all safety is learned in a classroom or in books. Time on the water is a great teacher, here are a few tips that will serve the inshore fishermen well.
Inshore Fishing Safety tips
- When traveling over a shallow flat on a low tide level, keep the boat speed down to just on a plane, you may consider, just an idle speed till you reach deeper water. You do not want to be running 30 mph. and hit a sandbar, you will throw your passengers to the deck, which could lead to a serious injury.
- Always maintain a good field of view when operating a boat, do not let a passenger obscure your vision when running, it is best to keep them sitting.
- Keep an eye on anglers to make sure they are checking, and looking behind them before they complete a cast. It will save you from having to remove a hook from someone. A one-ounce piece of egg sinker hitting someone in the head can cause a bad bruise or head injury.
- Keep your deck clear, when someone is playing a fish, they are not watching where they are stepping. Rods and other items should never be left on the deck, these are stumbling hazards, and are costly to be replaced,
- When cutting bait with the fillet knife always return it back to the sheath. Do not leave an exposed knife blade out.
- When running the Cape Fear River or any body of water, keep your eye on the water watch for floating debris, especially after heavy rain or flooding. Weather is an important factor in Inshore Fishing Safety. Thunderstorms with lighting are nothing to be taken lightly. With today’s phones, it is fairly easy to track an approaching storm, keep your eye on an approaching storm leave before it comes to close. Talk to your passengers let them know that a storm is possible and advise them of the conditions. You make the call when to leave before an approaching storm. The Captain should make the call on a questionable day whether to fish or wait for another day for better weather conditions.
Inshore Fishing Safety is a top priority of mine, when you book a charter with me, you will know that your family will be in good hands. Everyone wants to enjoy their fishing charter and have an enjoyable experience on the water. I hope this post will help some of you boaters that are just getting into boating, and a few tips from someone with a considerable amount of experience.
Capt.Mike Dennis – Cape Fear Guide – 910-619-0928