Boater Education Nebraska

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53 Chapter 6 ■ Fishing Fishing is the most popular activity among boaters. Anglers using vessels can be at risk. Unfortunately, anglers capsizing or falling overboard are common fatal boating accidents. ◆ Anglers who use vessels to fish need to think of themselves first as vessel operators. If you fish and boat, you should: • Know and follow all safe boating laws and requirements. • Pay attention to the capacity plate and not overload your vessel. • Wear a life jacket (PFD) especially when the water is cold or when fishing alone or in remote areas. (A PFD is required in most competitive fishing tournaments.) • Recycle or toss used fishing line into receptacles on shore and not into the water or onto shorelines. Fishing line is not biodegradable and is dangerous to wildlife and propellers. • Take care of your fishing boat just like you do your fishing equipment. ◆ Vessel operators who are boating in the vicinity of fishing boats should: • Slow down when approaching fishing boats or give them a wide berth. • Never run over anglers' lines. Be aware anglers may have lines out to the sides of their boats or trolling behind them. • Never disturb fishing boats by making a large wake. An angler at anchor could be swamped by another vessel's cruising wake. Hunting Many hunters use vessels for duck hunting or to get to their favorite hunting grounds. If you are using your vessel to hunt, you should: ◆ Understand that you are still responsible for obeying all boating laws and should follow all safe boating rules. ◆ Take extra precautions to avoid capsizing or swamping your vessel. • Be aware that small, flat-bottom vessels are prone to capsizing or swamping. • Keep weight low and distribute gear evenly in the vessel. • Do not exceed the vessel's capacity. Never crowd too many people or too much gear into one small hunting boat. • Take only well-trained dogs on board a small vessel. An excited dog could capsize a vessel easily. Keep the dog lying on the bottom, positioned in the center of the vessel. • Take precautions to avoid hypothermia in case you do capsize. See Chapter 5 for guidelines on preventing and treating this condition. ◆ Wear a life jacket (PFD) at all times while on the water. PFDs come in a variety of styles, including camouflage vests and float coats. ◆ Remember that cold water can be a killer. When hunting on cold water, dress in several layers under your PFD. ◆ Always check the weather and stay as close to the shore as possible. ◆ Never fire shots or release arrows until the vessel is stopped, the motor is turned off, and the vessel is secured or properly anchored. Always remain seated when shooting. Of course, you must possess a valid hunting license, tags, and permits for whatever you are hunting. ◆ Be aware of laws regarding transport of firearms in a vessel. ◆ Ensure that all firearms are always unloaded with the safety on and are secured in a gun case when they are being transported in a vessel. Special precautions and responsibilities are required when hunting from a vessel. If ill feelings between user groups become widespread, managing agencies may be forced to deal with the issue by closing down boating opportunities or by posting specific times for separate user groups. The best way to ensure better boating opportunities is for every boater to be courteous and responsible. It is very important that you get in the habit of wearing a life jacket while fishing or hunting, especially in smaller boats and those with low gunwales. One simple mistake without a life jacket on could ruin a good day of fishing, not to mention ruin your life. Try out an inflatable life jacket to maximize comfort. And don't forget to wear your ignition safety switch lanyard whenever the motor is running! REMEMBER … If you fish or hunt from a boat, you are not only an angler or a hunter but also a boater. Copyright © 2014 Boat Ed, www.boat-ed.com

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