If you Google - "New River, body found" the first few pages are filled with scary/unfortunate/humbling results. The reality is that water takes lives. In a post last week, I wrote about some of my views regarding saftey on the water. This week, I will add a couple more and give boaters (especially new ones) a few links to check out that may be informative for them.
Every time I hit the water, I am sure to have 6 things - a life jacket, whistle, light, first aid kit, knife, and gorilla tape. These items are my "safety" items in case I get injured, lost, or simply fall-in. Gorilla tape will also patch a hole in a boat. The life jacket (aka PFD) is the real life saver, but you never know when the others might be needed. In fact, in many states, whistles and lights are required for non-motorized boaters in addition to PFDs. Be sure to check your local regs.
Another quick Google search will yield about a million kayak fishing saftey tips, but one of the most informative is this one from Paddling.net. You might notice that they use the phrase, "don't be stupid" a lot. Take their advice!
Thankfully, I have never had a MAJOR issue with a motor boat putting me in danger. And although some people seem to peg them as public enemy number one for yak anglers, I have found that most of the yak anglers I know rarely have issues with bigger boats. If they do, it is typically an issue with the bass boat guy thinking they own the lake and not respecting the personal space of the kayak fisherman - especially in a tournament situation.
For those of you who are bass boat guys and might read this, there are plenty of great sites out there for boater safety as well. In fact, many states are now requiring safety classes for younger boaters. One great site for info, practice exams, and much more is BoaterExam.com. It has great info for folks in North Carolina, Virginia, and more. In fact, you can get your Virginia (and many other states) boating saftey course and license completley taken care of on their site.
Kayaking, canoeing, and boating should be about having fun, relaxing, and enjoying nature. I hope none of my readers ever have to deal with saftey issues on the water. But one of the keys to prevention is planning ahead and being prepared.
Be sure to check back Monday...it is finally time for Episode 1!!! Until next time, tight lines!