Are you planning to sail an adventurous hunt? It would be great with your hunting safety gear and your GoPro hunting camera. But do you know what safety precautions you should take when hunting from a boat?
Hunting itself is a hard skill to master. And hunting from a boat makes it harder and eventually riskier. Therefore, I would like to share my experience on the possible risks you may face from boat hunting and what safety precautions you should take when hunting from a boat.
What Are Possible Risks From Boat Hunting
Former reports show numerous death tolls that are related to boating accidents. On Nov 30, 2020, David Lange, a Research expert covering sports & recreation in the UK & Europe, published a statistic on Statista that shows a total of 12,148 deaths related to recreational boating in 18 years, starting from 2002-2019.
The following precautions can help you in reducing the chance for any unexpected:
- Hunting areas abound with wild animals expose you to the risk of being attacked by them.
- Choosing a boat without checking it well is a greater risk, as there can be defects in the boats.
- Using unstable boats like paddle craft and flat-bottom can be pretty dangerous.
- Falling in the cold water may lead to hypothermia. That makes people unable to swim for the sudden involuntary respiration.
- Taking too many people or too much stuff or overloading the boat with anything will increase the capsizing risk.
- You may get boat injuries if you fall overboard while standing up to aim or to shoot or to reach for the prey.
These were some possible risks you need to consider at first. However, not adapting precautionary measures appropriately will multiply the risks. Therefore, you also need to follow some mandatory safety precautions properly.
What Safety Precaution Should You Take When Hunting From A Boat
Well, you already know the possible risks. And now, let’s get into the core part – the safety precautions. From hunting safety gear to personal safety, you have to maintain them all to avoid the risks.
1. Learn Swimming
With no doubt, knowing how to swim is a precondition before you go hunting from a boat. In fact, you do not know what can go wrong there. And you are hunting in the water, so swimming is worth the effort. Besides, PFDs and staying close to the boat will not always be favorable.
2. Consider Taking Boating Lessons
If you do not know how to ride a boat properly, you better take lessons on it. Besides, hunting takes a lot of patience and effort itself to master. On top of that, hunting from a boat needs some learning and practice before going for it. Hence, take a course on it. Besides, you will need a boating education certificate if you do not have one. However, the lesson plans may change according to your boat type and hunting area.
3. Know The Safety Drills
Any emergency can occur as you are hunting from the water. Hence, learn how to give first aid and CPR. Practice swimming while grabbing an unconscious person. In case you are alone and need help, get yourself in the H.E.L.P position.
Know The Local Laws & Keep The Hunting License With You
Acknowledging and maintaining the local laws of your hunting area is a must. Otherwise, you can get into trouble with legal issues. And, of course, keep your validated hunting license in your pocket in case you need it at an instance.
1. File A Float/Rescue Plan
It includes many necessary things like the information about your boat, owner’s address, departure date and time, rescue contact number, and the travel route for safety. So, file a float plan every time with a trusted authority or a reliable person before going for the trip. You can check out a demo of a float plan on the Boat-ed’s website.
2. Plan & Pack Smart
As I mentioned earlier, overloading raises the risk of capsizing. Hence, make a list of essentials like hunting safety gear, food, water, icebox, first aid kit, GPS, flashlight, lighter, two sound-signaling devices, a handheld radio, and a communication device. Besides, if you are going as a team, make sure the baggage is balanced. Last but not least, if you take a hunting dog, ensure that it is well trained.
A quick tip: Pack the things in recyclable plastic bags to keep them dry.
3. Pre-departure Checking
Check if the fuel level is full and store enough oil for the trip. Ensure the bilge is dry and the pump is functioning well. Mostly, recheck if you have required documents like the boating license, hunting license, boat registration, permits, and local charts. Besides, take commonly used spare parts and a well-packed toolbox. Also, check the essentials and keep the first aid kit in an accessible place. Lastly, check if the battery is fully charged and store spare batteries for devices like flashlights and radio.
4. Wear PFD – Personal Flotation Device
Wearing a US Coast Guard or your regional coast guard approved life jacket or PFD is the first and foremost safety measure you need to take for the whole trip. Besides, if you hate the bland orange color, you can choose yours from the various colors and designs they offer. Most importantly, have a spare PFD, even if you are hunting alone.
5. Dress According to The Climate
Check the climate forecast of the hunting area and dress accordingly before going there. Dress warmly as the low temperature of the water can lead to the sudden shock of hypothermia. Consider wearing waterproof clothes if you have any. Besides, wear a pair of quality insulated hunting boots to prevent cold-feet situations.
6. Anchor The Boat Before The Shot
Taking shots without anchoring the boat results in missed shots and even falling in the water. Hence, making the boat standstill by anchoring the boat first is the safest option. At Least turn off the engine before you take the shot. You can also check out this link here, to avoid top mistakes and tips on anchoring a bay boat.
7. Avoid All Sorts of Intoxication
Of course, any intoxication endangers the normal state of your mind. Hence, you are unable to swim or react real quick if you consume alcohol or drugs. Even in your complete senses, this will rapidly increase the risks when the boat overturns, or you fall at an instance.
Well, these were some basic precautions you must follow strictly.
And as we all know, hunters tend to choose remote regions for hunting at ease. Therefore, following precautions is a must. Last but not least, taking plenty of rest before the trip and being prepared both mentally and physically are mandatory for that adventurous trip.
In case you want to capture those precious moments, let me remind you to take a quality device like a GoPro hunting camera. Wish you good luck with the hunting!
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