Freshwater fishing safety

Freshwater fishing safety is important. The last thing you want to do is set out for a great freshwater fishing trip and end up with a personal injury or injuring someone else.

It is important for parents to teach fishing safety through example and patient explanations about why things should be done in a certain way. Start teaching freshwater fishing safety before you leave shore; read and show the safety labels on each piece of fishing equipment and fishing tackle to your kids.

Freshwater fishing safety tips

Some freshwater fishing safety tips are common sense (like not drinking or using drugs while driving a boat and keeping a cell phone on board) and others are regulated by the state in which you are fishing.

Freshwater fishing and boating safety tips:

  • Check the weather forecast before heading out for the day. Never set out in a lightning storm and if one starts while out, come in immediately.
  • In an open style fishing boat, all people on board should/must wear a life jacket (personal flotation devices or PFD). Children must wear a PFD on any style of fishing boat.
  • Follow all local rules and safety warnings including speed limits and wake zone laws imposed on the lake or by the state.
  • Do not fish in unrestricted zones.
  • Boat defensively: always be aware and stay clear of other boats, water skiers, debris, stumps or large rocks in the way.
  • Turn on boat lights when boating in the dark or at dusk.
  • Use GPS navigation and keep a satellite walkie talkie on board in case of emergency.
  • Keep maps of the areas in and around where you plan to travel on board the boat.
  • Always handle hooks carefully and look around to make sure the coast is clear before each cast.
  • Keep a walkway clear in your boat to reduce trip and fall accidents.
  • Wear protective clothing in layers (for the cold, wet or heat).
  • Wear closed toed shoes with rubber soles.
  • Bring plenty of water and drink before you feel thirsty to stay hydrated.
  • Wear sunscreen and a brimmed hat and bug spray if there are bugs.
  • Keep fishing safety equipment on board.

Click here for freshwater fishing regulations in Washington State

Fishing safety equipment

Fishing safety equipment must include a first aid kit. When you are catching fish there are plenty of opportunities to get injured. A first aid kit should include bandages of all sizes, gauze, medical tape and scissors, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic wipes and pain reliever.

A hook remover kit is also a good idea. A typical hook remover kit includes a hook extractor tool, alcohol pads, iodine pads, gauze pads, plastic bandages and a set of instructions.

Store a PFD for every adult on board and keep extra water and snacks, flashlights, flares and a lighter on the boat.

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