Tips To Be Safe on the Water
The number ONE safety tip while on the water is to
Always wear your Personal floatation device (PFD) when on the water
When fishing along the bank
- Be aware of you environment. Ask other fishers about water levels and changes they may have noticed in water level. If alone, use rocks or other stationary objects to keep an eye on the water levels in your area. This can be important if you are far from the dam and may not be able to hear warning sirens.
- Check for warning signs in the area and take them seriously.
- Trust your common sense, especially when it comes to the dam. Any unusual noises coming from the dam is a good reason to leave the water. Also, signs such as rushing water changing pitch, birds and fish becoming more active, plant material from inundated shorelines floating downstream, and water moving faster or becoming cloudy are also good things to be aware of.
- Do not put yourself in a situation from which you cannot easily escape. If you find yourself in a sticky situation, you are in danger. Ask for help from others, or accept someone’s offer for help. You may not be able to handle the situation yourself.
- When wading, use a sturdy stick to help you maintain two points of contact with the stream bed.
- Do not exceed the limits of your strength, agility and endurance. A tired wader traversing rising water and slick rocks is inviting tragedy.
If you find yourself in the water…
- Get rid of anything that might pull you down. Grandpa’s rod or your fishing vest mean nothing if you do not live to use them again. Discard gear with a free hand. Less weight could save your life.
- If you find yourself in a current, draw yourself up in the help position with your feet pointed downstream and use your arms to ‘steer’. This will protect your head from unseen dangers. Remain calm and drift to shallow water. Save your strength.
- In deep water, swim with the current and diagonally across it. Avoid using all your strength to fight the current. Conserve energy by working downstream, then stand only in shallow, slow water. Respect your tail waters. Use common sense when wading, and you’ll live to enjoy them again and again.