Hunters and Anglers as Boaters

Hunting and fishing are sports that have a variety of safety rules and regulations. However, participants of these sports must remember that when they’re hunting or fishing from a boat, they’re considered to be boaters and must also follow the rules and regulations for safe boat operation.

 

Accident Risks for Hunters and Anglers

Approximately 1/3 of all boating-related fatalities occur on trips involving fishing activities. Additionally, fewer hunters and anglers die each year from sport-related gunshot wounds than from drowning, hypothermia and the effects of cold water shock. You just can’t ignore stats like these.

Hunters boating

If you plan on hunting or fishing from your boat, it’s important that you recognize the following accident risks that are unique to those sports:

Falling overboard:

This is a high risk because hunters and anglers frequently stand up in their boats to cast a line, take aim or to reach for a decoy. Stay seated to stay stable!

Overloading:

When you combine heavy sporting gear or an unbalanced load with passengers who are frequently moving around in the boat, the risk of capsizing will increase substantially.

Boat type:

Hunters and anglers often use flat-bottom boats and paddle craft so that they can quietly drift into their hunting or fishing areas. These smaller boat types tend to be unstable, making them more likely to capsize than larger types of motorboats.

 

Safety Tips for Hunters and Anglers:

  • Always wear your life jacket—they’re available in camouflage colors!
  • Go hunting or fishing in groups (there is safety in numbers).
  • Complete a Float Plan and leave it with a responsible person on shore.
  • Keep a look-out for obstacles and other boaters—not just that trophy buck!
  • Carry first aid supplies, extra clothing and safety gear that’s appropriate for the weather conditions.
  • If you plan on being in cold water areas, wear an immersion suit to prevent hypothermia.
  • Never overload your boat and always balance the weight load before getting underway.
  • If you’re out for a long trip, fill your day pack with re-sealable plastic bags. They’ll keep your small equipment, snacks and supplies dry and they’ll also act as air pockets that will help keep your pack afloat if you accidentally drop it overboard.

Hunters on a boat loaded with equipment

Safe Boating Tip:

If you have a hunting dog in your boat, make sure the dog is trained for hunting. If it gets excited or startled by the sound of a gunshot, the dog might jump out of the boat, which would destabilize it and potentially cause a capsizing emergency.