FISHING IS MORE DANGEREOUS THAN YOU THINK
Ask any experienced boater about life jackets and they will tell you that they put them on at the first sign of danger. Ask those same people if they think fishing is inherently dangerous and they will probably say no. Unfortunately this is a severe disconnect in boating safety logic.
There is something almost hypnotic about fishing. Fishermen get so entranced in the act of catching a fish that they wander off shore without an EPIRB or radio and believe they are protected with insufficient near shore life jackets. They get so focused on catching a fish that they fail to see approaching weather. When they do see an approaching storm they refuse to head for safety if the fish are biting. If they have a fish on the line, it is “Katie Bar the Door” until that fish is landed.
My home State of
The majority of fishing is done in a 16 to 24 foot craft. National statistics show that the majority of boating accidents happen on small craft. This immediately puts you at risk. While your best protection on the water is an off shore life jacket, I know they are too bulky to ask an active fisherman to wear. This is one instance where a type 5 inflatable life jacket may be a reasonable alternative. These safety devices are no more bulky to wear than a pair of suspenders. While the models with automatic inflators are a little pricey, those with a pull cord inflator are quite reasonable and simple to operate. Fishermen please believe me. The sport of fishing is dangerous and you should have a life jacket on at all times. If you don’t believe me I will be glad to direct you to the families of the two men mentioned above. Perhaps they can convince you!
The United States Power Squadrons has 45,000 members in over 450 squadrons throughout the
“Boating is fun…we’ll show you how”
William B. Hempel, P
Member of the National Marketing and
Public Relations Committee
Bill Hempel is a year round resident of Punta Gorda,