Summer is quickly approaching and with that, many boaters in smaller vessels start to become a little over-confident when fishing. This is unfortunately with the dangers of offshore fishing become apparent a little too late and catch people off guard, risking their safety. If you intend to take your boat out this summer, it is important to brush up on some basic rules and guidelines that should always be adhered to.
- Always be sure to double check the forecasted weather for the day so that you can be sure that the winds in your area are not going to be increasing throughout the day. The direction the wind will be blowing in is also important as you will have to decide whether or not you will want to travel against it.
- Never leave too far offshore if you do not have a VHF radio of at least 25 watts as these will be able to reach the shore as far as 18 miles away.
- Pay attention to the formations of the clouds throughout the day. It is quite common during the summer for there to be sudden thunderstorms that can develop rather quickly.
- Check in with your radio often with another marina or boat in order to be sure that you can reach another person in case something happens.
- Exercise good judgment. If it looks as if there is a potential storm brewing, this is not something you will want to be caught out in. A small rain shower can quickly turn into bigger troubles rather quickly.
- If you find that you have been caught out on the water and there is lightening in the area, immediately make sure that everything in the boat is kept extremely low including you and your passengers. Place your fishing gear in the bottom of the boat and be sure that the antenna is lowered.
- Be extremely cautious regarding wakes from other boats as these can often flip a smaller vessel rather easily.
All in all, it is extremely necessary to navigate the ocean using common sense. If you suspect that something is potentially risky or dangerous, the chances are that it is a threatening situation. If the clouds that day are looking dark, it is likely there is a storm on the way and you should choose to reschedule your plans. People in smaller boats should never take any chances when it comes to being on the water as the ocean will always win.
On days when you are unable to make it out to the water, try out some great online fishing games to keep yourself entertained and your skills sharp.