Injury Prevention Tips for Fishing by

by Barbara Foster

Fishing for sport can be an enjoyable way to pass the time for people of virtually any age. With a line in the water and a comfortable spot to sit, you can savor your natural surroundings. As you engage in this recreational pursuit, keep safety in mind to avoid injury. A number of potential physical risks are present with this sport, including water, boats, and dangerous fishing equipment.

Because fishing involves a body of water, it's ideal if everyone in your group knows how to swim. Even with strong swimming ability, though, mishaps can occur. Ideally, you should always fish with at least one other person for safety in the event of an accident. If you are fishing alone, always tell someone where you are in case something happens while you are fishing. It's also beneficial to pack a first aid kit with your fishing equipment to enable you to treat minor injuries that could occur.

Fishing from the shore may involve the fewest risks; however, you must observe basic safety guidelines to avoid injuries. Fishing involves a fishing rod, fishing line, and fishing hooks. The combination of these three components can be dangerous if people handle them incorrectly. To cast the fishing line into the water, the angler first moves the pole backward. The next movement involves a swift shift forward toward the water while letting the line out at the same time. Before moving the pole backward to cast, always survey the entire area behind you. Do not cast if people are directly behind you, because you could inadvertently injure them with the fishing hook. Do not cast if you are standing near power lines or trees, because you could catch your hook in these obstructions.

Never leave your tackle box open in a place where someone could step on it or trip over it. Tackle boxes typically contain sharp objects that could cause significant injuries. When you finish fishing for the day, always remove your hook and lure from your line and put them away properly in the tackle box. Leaving a hook and lure on a fishing line could cause an injury if someone touches them accidentally.

Fishing on a boat involves some dangers. Every person on a boat must have a personal flotation device. The operator of the boat must obey all boating laws. Individual states have laws in place regarding the completion of education prior to operating a boat. Observe all boat safety guidelines and regulations to minimize dangers. Common guidelines include following boat capacity guidelines, operating the boat at safe speeds, keeping occupants seated at all times in designated seats, watching the water for hazards, avoiding inclement weather while on the water, remaining sober, and using navigation lights at night.

Some anglers prefer to wade while fishing. When wading, always fish with a companion for safety. Wear a personal flotation device while you are in the water. Wear appropriate foot coverings such as waders in the water to protect your feet and legs. Watch the water before you enter it to note how swiftly the current is moving. Explore the bottom of the river or lake bed to learn whether it is muddy or rocky. Try maneuvering a stick along the floor in front of you as you walk so you can discover holes or uneven surfaces.

Some anglers enjoy ice fishing during the winter. Ice fishing requires special attention to safety guidelines to avoid injuries. Never venture out onto the ice until you have verified that it is at least three inches thick. Ice depths can vary depending on local weather and environmental conditions in the area. Rivers and streams are often unsafe for ice fishing during the winter due to repeated freezes and thaws. Never ice fish alone. Drill the fewest number of holes possible, and keep the hole diameters less than 8 inches. Dress in layers for warmth with waterproof outerwear. Always bring a complete change of clothes for everyone in your group. Pack emergency gear such as flotation devices, matches, ice picks, and rope.

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