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If you decide to try fishing from a boat, there is a lot to know before you go. 

You need to know about: 

The boat and how it handles. 

The equipment on the boat and how it works. 

The waters you will be boating on and any hazards such as submerged trees and rocks. 

The weather conditions and emergency procedures. 

The safety devices on the boat and how they work. 

Your own personal abilities-how much you can do before you become too tired. 

As the operator of a boat you are legally responsible for the boat and the safety of those on board.
You must also understand the rules of navigation and the courtesies of safe boating. Always complete a boater safety course prior to operating a boat for the first time.

Fishing from boats can be made safer through the following steps:


*     Have your boat and motor serviced regularly.

*     Boat sea worthiness and capabilities are important.
Update your boating knowledge
practise your skills. 
Ask for local information if hiring a boat and pay attention to all instructions.
They could save your life.

*     Check fuel levels - work out what you might need, then take around twice as much.

       Running out of fuel is one of the most common reasons for requiring emergency services.

       Ensure that your fuel is fresh.

*     Always carry tools and spare parts like spark plugs. Spare fuel line, shear pins and propeller.

*     Keep bilges clear and ensure that there is no build up of fuel or fumes.

*     Always carry safety gear and ensure it is in good working order.

*     Make sure life jackets can be easily accessed - if you need them in a hurry they won't be much use to you if kept in a locked compartment or below deck.

*     Children and poor swimmers should wear life jackets at all times

*     Tell a responsible person where you are going and when you will be returning.

*     Twin motors offer a backup if one of the motors breaks down.

*     If possible, fish with someone else, so that if you are injured your partner will be able to call for help.

*     Do not attempt to fish on the whitewater wash zone around rocks, shore, offshore reefs or other structures.

*     Regularly check weather reports through the local volunteer sea rescue facility, or the Weather Bureau on telephone.

*     If the weather looks threatening, head for home.

In an electrical storm, get off the lake and out of your boat.
 Always follow the golden safety rule of fishing: 

When in doubt, wait it out!

*     Small boats can be tipped over.
Put the load in the centre of the boat and don't overload.

       When travelling, take waves on the forequarters.

*     Ensure your boat is positively buoyant and will float even if overturned.
It is generally better to stay with the boat if it does overturn.

Don't abandon ship
If your boat gets swamped, stay with it.
Most people overestimate their swimming ability.
Boats usually stay afloat and drift to shore. 

*     If running a bar or reef gap, watch the swells carefully for at least 10 minutes before attempting the run. It is preferable to attempt these crossings with another boat, but go one at a time.

*     Take special care when launching and retrieving boats, as crushing injuries are common.

*     Do not attempt to take large and underplayed fish into small boats. Sharks, tuna, marlin and others can cause significant damage.

*     Keep fluids up when fishing. Alcohol is not recommended because it can induce dehydration, impair judgement and may lead to prosecution for driving a boat under the influence if consumed in significant quantities. Carry spare water and food in case your boat breaks down.

*     Carefully store sharp implements such as knives and gaffs.

*     In an emergency use your radio, set off your EPIRB* and use your flares when appropriate.

       Setting off an EPIRB will initiate a wide-scale search that could save your life. If you accidentally set off an EPIRB, advise the authorities immediately.

EPIRB = Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon


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