MUST-HAVE ITEMS FOR SAFE OFFSHORE BOATING
Offshore anglers head to open waters to catch big game fish such as Marlin, Mahi-Mahi and Tuna. Unlike fishing in shallow waterways, the deep sea can be perilous. You’re miles away from land so if something unfortunate happens, help may not come immediately. To ensure your safety, here are some of the must-have items for safe offshore boating.
Anglers must wear their life jackets at all times. It should be properly fitted so that it doesn’t come loose when you lift your shoulders. These days, life jackets are much more comfortable to wear so it will not interfere with your fishing experience. Some types of life jackets come in bright colours for better visibility as well as personal locators for easier tracking of the wearer.
Your boat must be equipped with signalling tools such as a mirror, whistle, bell, flare or air horn. These will be useful if you want to call the attention of nearby vessels. You can also use these tools to alert rescue operations of your location if there’s poor visibility.
An Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) is designed to send a signal when the boat goes underwater. If passengers have to abandon ship, they should bring the EPIRB aboard their life raft so they can be tracked and located.
When you’re miles away from land, there are no cell signals. This means you won’t be able to use your smartphone to call for help or assistance. In this instance, having a VHF-FM radio will serve as your means of communication. You can coordinate with other vessels or call emergency stations if the need arises.
Whether it’s an electronic navigation device or just a map and compass, an angler should always have navigational items aboard their boat. This is useful when you have to alter routes or evacuate a specific area. You’ll need these tools to know where the quickest way to land is.
Anglers should continuously check the weather as conditions can change very quickly. Installing a weather app on your smartphone will help you keep track of the current weather conditions.
FIRST AID KIT
A first aid kit should always be on your boat. It should contain an antiseptic solution, scissors and bandages in case of accidents as well as medication to address a variety of symptoms.
Consider bringing basic spare parts like clamps, bolts, propellers and spark plugs on the off chance that you might need to do some troubleshooting while out on the water.
FOOD AND WATER
Before heading out on the ocean, anglers should make sure that they bring enough food and water to last a couple of days. Having an abundant supply of food and water may come in handy in case the boat is unable to make its way back to land.
You might want to bring an additional electric motor in case the major motor malfunctions. For smaller vessels, even oars can prove to be useful as an alternative means of moving.
If you have to abandon your boat, you might not have the chance to gather all of your belongings. This is why your boat should have a ditch bag containing all the items and equipment that you’ll need to survive. The ditch bag should be waterproof and buoyant, so it’ll be easy to bring or drag along if you’re aboard and in a life raft.
Unexpected changes in the weather or a malfunctioning boat can turn a fun time out on the ocean into an emergency situation in the blink of an eye. Every angler should be aware of this, and as a precaution, they should equip their boat with the necessary items that’ll significantly bolster their chances for survival should an unlikely situation arise.
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