Situational awareness and kayak fishing safety

Most of my posts are on the positive side, however there are times when we need to slow down and realize that what we do is an extreme sport. When one goes out on the water in a small plastic boat he or she is taking on certain risks. We often need to reflect on these risks to keep fresh on our minds the inherent dangers that can cause a bad day for us. Not only do we tackle large fish in a small boat, we have to deal with what mother nature sends our way, and we often forget that other boaters can present a real danger for the kayak angler.

You have the angler in a fast boat that is at wide open throttle, heading to the next location they are going to fish, the recreational boater who may be towing skiers on an inner tube, the joy riders on boats and jet ski's, and God forbid the intoxicated watercraft operator. We need to remember that our small plastic craft do not have a high profile on the water and is not very visible from a distance, mix that with the fact that some kayak colors blend in with the surface color or the horizon. Ive seen kayakers that go out early with no light or reflective materials on their craft. This is asking for trouble if you are on a body of water with powered boat traffic.

Here are some recommendations that we already know, however we need to be reminded so we will always come home after a day or night out on the water.

1. Choose a highly visible kayak color. Grey, tan, camo, and other dark colors are good looking but often blend into the background. a fluorescent flag helps and also bright orange paddle make a great signaling device if you wave it in the air to get a boaters attention who is heading your way.

2. Keep your head on a swivel. Situational awareness is a must.

3.If yaking in low light conditions, use a 360 degree light, head lamps can not be seen by other boaters. Use reflective materials on your yak so light will reflect off of your yak.

4. Wear your PFD!!!!!!!!! I have said this many times before, a PFD is like a hand gun, When you need it it does you no good put away. All emergencies happen without warning... you do not have a remote control to pause the live action and put it on. so keep it on.

5. And the biggest thing is to have respect for the dangers you face and do all you can to not put yourself in a position to get hurt. Here on Lake Lanier this year there have been three deaths due to negligent powered craft operation. You can not take for granted that others will respect your safety as much as you do.

Just today I was fishing, minding my own business when some teens in a powered boat thought it would be funny to try to knock the guy off his kayak. They didn't count that this particular kayak had film rolling and caught their stupidity on film.

I hope that you all stay safe out there.
Tight lines,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more Walt. The same day, you saw one of the FLW boys come scary close to hitting me, turning away at the last moment. At least (I think) it was not intentional as your incident was.

Safety has to be the #1 priority out there for sure! Stay safe and tight lines!