There are plenty of hazards in all types of freshwater angling – river, lake, dam, spinning from a canoe and trolling from a boat. But by following some simple safety tips and using common sense, most accidents can be avoided. Just that in the same way you think carefully about what gear to use, you should apply the same consideration to safety.
Leave a plan of your route and schedule with your family or the police or local rangers. Take some emergency supplies such as a space blanket, water, fire starter, compression bandage and emergency food.
Fish with a mate or two.
Having someone nearby makes good sense in case of accident or injury.
Be careful of what you wear in boats.
Clothing should be as light as possible while still maintaining necessary warmth. Wear a bouyancy vest. Waders can be lethal in boats. Many angling tragedies in recent years have been caused by anglers drowning when wearing waders in boats. DON’T risk your life by wearing waders in a boat.
Check the weather before setting out.
Prepare yourself well for all the likely conditions ahead and know what you might be getting into. Check online or radio weather forecasts and ask locals for advice.
Take a communication device.
A mobile phone is a good stand by if you’re within range. No matter who you’re with, 112 will connect you with emergency services. Consider buying or hiring an emergency beacon for back country trips.
Don’t get lost.
Know how to read a map, use a compass and a GPS. Plan your trip, check your location frequently. Know where you are in case you have to be rescued.
Be careful in boats, especially in alpine impoundments.
Don’t overload your boat. Keep your boat maintained well and know how to handle minor breakdowns. Keep a good lookout for rocks, submerged trees and snags. Stick to a safe speed. Be aware of other boats, especially smaller boats, and reduce your wake. Know the rules of giving way and obeying navigation buoys. Drinking and boating don’t mix – save your drinking for the end of the day.
Watch out for snakes.
So while you don’t want alert the fish to your presence, give the snakes a heads up by walking heavy and look ahead. Carry a compression bandage and know how to use it.
Know how to treat an injury and even save a life.
Download the CPR animation from the Australian Red Cross and consider doing a first aid course. Organise a first aid course for your fishing club.
On a fishing trip, one of your biggest risks is just getting there in one piece. Take it easy on country roads, watch out for roos and farm animals, do a 4WD course if you plan to do a lot of off-roading.
Don’t fish in electrical storms.
Put your rod down, get out of the water, take cover but not under the one and only tree, get in hollow, stay away from high ground.