Time Fishing/Boating Safety
By Barry Featheringill
winter upon us and several still not wanting to suffer the pains of
cabin fever we still try to get that last few days on the water before
the lake freezes over. There are several special concerns that need to
be addressed when winter fishing/boating.
your trip. It
only makes sense to let somebody know when you plan to leave and
return home but also plan on items necessary in case of an
emergency and what actions you might need to take. A cell phone or
two-way radio, dry clothes and matches in water proof container,
food and fresh water, flashlight with extra batteries,
flares or signal kit are just a few items that might be beneficial
in an emergency.
a Float Plan. Leave
a description of your boat, the number of people in the boat, the
area you plan to be in while on the water, and the time you expect
to return with a family member of friend.
If you are overdue on your return this gives specific
information to aid in search. Time is important in cold-water
exposure and your time is limited.
weather is always very unpredictable but more so in the winter
months. It is really had to have a nice day come along after a
long spell of cabin fever to not just jump at the chance to get
out and try for some fish. Always check the weather and NEVER
depend on a small overloaded boat to get you safely on the water
and return, especially if wind should happen to make conditions
Personal Flotation Device (PFD) is the most important piece of
equipment on your boat. It is important that you wear your PFD
during the winter months. Not only should your PFD be on when the
big motor is in use, but all the time you are on the water. If
your boat should happen to capsize or you fall overboard in cold
water and you are not wearing your PFD the chances of survival are
in an Emergency.
The most important thing for a victim of fall into cold water
is to focus on getting out of the water. The fact that water
conduct heat out of the body much quicker than air makes it
important to get out of the cold water as quickly as possible.
Hypothermia is “dangerously low body temperature” according to
the dictionary. Being in cold water causes the body temperature to
drop at a rate 25 times faster than in air. As heat escapes the
body hypothermia is speeded up and can cause cardiac arrest if not
rescued and re-warmed. If you should happen to find yourself in
the water don’t panic, do not remove clothing in the
water, they trap air and keep you afloat as well as
keeping body heat in. Keep your head above the water since
most heat loss is from the head. Draw your knees up to your chest
and your arms to your sides in the Heat Escape Lessening
Posture (H.E.L.P) protecting the major areas of heat loss. If
you are with others huddle up as this will help your morale
There are a number of factors that influence the rate of
cooling of a person’s body.
Age, body size, physical condition
Activity – such as trying to swim, thrashing about, floating
Amount and type of clothing
Effects of Alcohol. Cold weather and alcohol, especially in cold water can be
fatal. Common sense and responsibility are major factors to
avoid injury or death. Drinking clouds common sense, which causes a
false sense of security. Alcohol also lowers the body’s resistance
to cold greatly increasing the effects of a sudden blast of cold of
cold water (or air) causing the metabolic rate to increase and the
demand for oxygen to increase in cold water. Alcohol also decreases a
person’s coordination abilities to decrease.
all be safe it is better to have to suffer with cabin fever than it is
to suffer thru hypothermia or even worse. Be safe.