Guiding You to Safety

In the September/October 2004 issue, Henry Cowen writes about guide preparedness in Salt Water 101. After being on a near disastrous charter trip in the Bahamas, Cowen urges angles to take precautionary steps to keep a good trip from going bad. In the U.S., guides operate under Coast Guard regulations, but once you leave the country, anything goes. American charter captains are required to have a Coast Guard approved safety package on their boat which includes a fire extinguisher, whistle, flares, anchor, chain and line, type-4 throwable ring life preserver with line and type-1 wearable life vests. Communication devices, including back up VHF radios and cell phones, can prove critical in an emergency situation. When traveling anywhere, find out what kind of safety equipment is onboard before you leave the dock. You can also ask whether the lodge or operator has your float plan for the day. In addition to these precautions, there are several items you can pack yourself. Here's a small checklist to help make your next fishing adventure a safe one:

Bug Spray
Cell Phone
Compass
Dry clothes in a waterproof bag
Duct Tape
Extra snacks, candy or sports bars
First aid kit
Hat
Lighter or waterproof matches
Map of the area you're fishing
Rain gear
Sun block
Tool kit or multi-tool
VHF Radio
Water
Waterproof flashlight
Zip ties

For more information on safe boating including tips, classes and other resources, visit the following sites:
www.boatsafe.com
www.safeboatingcouncil.org
www.uscgboating.org
www.boatingsafety.com