Safety on the water is a foundational tenet of boating and fishing. For saltwater anglers who venture offshore, the need for offshore fishing safety equipment increases exponentially as this style of fishing involves various risks and requirements. It’s critical to outfit your vessel with proper offshore fishing safety equipment so that you are prepared in the event of an emergency. Here’s a list of critical offshore fishing safety gear to help you get started.
1. U.S. Coast Guard required Safety Items
As a boat operator, you are responsible for ensuring your recreational vessel carries the required boat safety items such as personal flotation devices, a fire extinguisher, and signaling devices.
2. VHF Marine Radio
It’s likely that your cell phone won’t have service offshore and a VHF radio might be your only way to call for help. Install one on your vessel and learn to use it properly.
3. Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB)
An EPIRB is a device used to alert search and rescue services by transmitting a distress frequency signal via satellite. Be sure to register your device prior to use.
4. Ditch bag
A ditch bag is a compact, buoyant bag that is stocked with critical offshore fishing safety equipment (including some of the items on this list!) that you might need in an emergency. Learn what to pack in your ditch bag.
5. First Aid Kit
Include basic first aid supplies such as bandages, aspirin, alcohol wipes, gauze, ointment, etc. Maintain the kit by checking expiration dates and replacing supplies as needed.
6. Protection from the elements
Pack offshore fishing safety gear that would protect you against nature’s elements for a prolonged period. Sunscreen, hat, rain gear, sunglasses, chapstick, blanket, etc.
7. Extra Dock Lines
Dock lines can serve many purposes in an emergency such as towing a vessel, tying off to an object, or setting your anchor. Stow extras onboard or in your ditch bag.
Offshore fishing is a rewarding adventure. Prepare accordingly so you can relax and enjoy the experience!