Well happy spring to you all. All this warm weather is getting very nice. Making me wanna get out and go. The fishing is starting up camping and all the other great activities. With that being said I want to bring up some safety issues that come with boats. A lot of waterfowlers use boats including myself, quite often actually.
So, I have a 15 foot aluminum boat and usually have 3 people and a dog and all the gear in it. Now the lakes i usually hunt and fish are not to wide or long but im sure if I was swiming it would be! Most of you have a larger budget or a larger boat that fit more people and children and all that.
I would like to talk about the gear I carry on my boat for hunting season and fishing season and ill bring up some safety tips to keep you going.
I always have life jackets for the amount of people. Thats what my state says i have to do. Check with your state laws for the regulations they have before boating. I also always carry my "decoy retriever." This is a collapsible golf ball retriever that extends to about 14 feet, that I puchased at wal-mart for about $15. so far its retrieved everything from a fishing pole I found in the water last week, to the lead weights from my decoys when they so misteriously fall of every year! It even works as a good shove pole. I also have enough rope to damn near stretch from me to you. I use this often too. I always have my two oars in the boat as well, and an extra boat plug, just in case!
These are the thing I carry all the time winter and summer. Now like I said the lakes im on I can almost spit across. However some of you might be on some that you cant even see the other side. Here are a few things I would recomend:
Air horn, or whistle, depending on your regulations lighting. A VhF radio with the freaqs. already entered! Extra gas for the motor, and anything extra you can think of that can go wrong or break bring another one. A perfect little kit is a old army shell box. Throw the spark plugs in there maybe a screwdriver and a wrench some duct tape and some teflon tape.
So to make things a little easier on my boat, I have done a few things. I have added some driving lights to the bow and ran the wires totally protected all the way back to where i keep my battery for the electric motor. This is also borderline must have. Another thing is i have added is tool clamps that are strategically placed in my boat mainly for my guns, but double up oh so well with my fishing poles and shove pole. These clips are made by End of The Road and are called Quick Fist Clamps. They work great. I have also Built a blind for my boat but I will let you all be creative with yours I dont want to give away all my secrets!!
The U.S. Boating statistics show that in 2006 there were 710 boating related fatalities, personal injury was at 3,474 and property damage due to boating was at $47.3 million.
Another very important point to make, well its important to me. Its Zebra muscles. Im not very educated on these things but they cause devistation to the lakes they infest. In Colorado there have only been 2 reports and they think they have caught it early enough to contain the infestation. Almost everywhere you go the authorities are inspecting and reinspecting your boats. Some of the small lakes here have even gone as far as not allowing boats with live wells or bilge pumps on the water. So keep your eye out. always have you boat dry before you put it into any other body of water if you notice that your boat may be infected find a decontaminate site that will wash your boat for you.
This is just a brief report of what you can do to be a little safer and make life a little easier. For more information visit your states Department Of Wildlife website.
SO BE SAFE. Whether your out taking a cruise, water skiing, fishing, hunting or whatever you do on a boat do it safely. We want you to come back to hunt another day!!! ENJOY
Duck Junkies Pro Staff