Fisherman’s Boating Safety Notebook

Fisherman’s Boating Safety Notebook

Hello All,
It’s that time of the year, the water is soft, the air is warm and you rod and reel are calling you. With that feeling of fish on, its time to take a few minutes and review your fishing gear bag for some very important items to get your season safely underway.

First question, if you own a boat, is it ready for the water? If it was stored outside looking it over carefully is the first thing to do. If it is an IO check for damage to the driveline and the prop. Look at the fuel system and make sure your fuel lines are in good condition. Check your electric start systems and the battery if left on board and outside during the winter. Check the hull for any kind of damage: fiber glass cracks, water damage to your electrical wiring, etc. Was your boat stored on a trailer under a tarp? You may have had some winter over critters camping out and you know how they are, they’ll eat anything!

Once you have done your inspection on the boat the next step is the trailer. Was it stored inside or out? If inside, did you put it up on blocks and pull the tires? If outside, again on blocks, tires on or off for storage? Did you look over the trailer hitch system? Grease and oil all the parts? How about the brakes? Look inside at the condition the drums. Water can really mess up the braking system, rust out springs, or cause boot of your fluid pistons brake system to dry rot from cold out door conditions.

Next, look at your lighting system. Are the lens cracked from the cold or just worn out, are the wires brittle showing bare spots? How about the lens covers themselves? Are they showing signs of wear that could cause them to leak? It could cause electrical problems for your entire trailer system. I know you can take a quick look your system, but the first time out take your time. Look it over very well by making sure your trailer and all of it operating systems are working. It can save you down the road from a brake failure while you’re trailering your boat at speed.

Let’s go back to the tires for a moment. What is their condition? Tread good? Side walls clear? No weather or dry rot cracks? Are they holding air pressure well? The hitch oiled check to see that it is operating properly when hook up to your tow vehicle? Wiring connection between the hitch and tow vehicle in good order and working? This is important if you have an electrical braking system and of course for your brake lights and turn signals.

That’s it for now. Next time I’ll get into the on board equipment you may want to have with you some you’ll actually need for your safety and the safety of those who join you on your Walleye fishing day.
A little background on me: I am a Retired member of the USCG Auxiliary Division 3 9th Eastern Region. During my service, I held the position of Public Affairs Officer from Flotilla 33, Staff Officer to District Staff Officer Public Affairs for 17 years. I also I worked with the USCG Group Buffalo now called Sector Buffalo as an assistant PA Officer for four years from 1998 to 2002. I have learned much about the general safety of the boating and fishing community. I’ll do my best to bring you what I hope will be useful information to keep you and your family and friends safe on the water.

Fair Winds and Following Seas,
Bill

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