Fall means hunters are taking to the water in various types of boats. Regardless of the game they are “gunning” for, boating hunters need to realize the risks associated with cold water boating and prepare accordingly.
National statistics show that boating accidents claim the lives of more hunters annually than gunshot wounds. Hunting-related drownings are usually the result of an overloaded boat or improperly dressed boater. Be prepared for cold water. By taking steps to minimize the inherent risks, hunters can improve their chances of a safe hunt.
When planning a hunt by boat, the following tips should be taken into consideration:
- Hunters who hunt from a boat must follow all boating regulations regarding required equipment and capacities.
- Always wear a life jacket.
- Check the capacity plate and be certain not to overload.
- Spread the weight of the load evenly through the boat.
- To set out decoys, simply toss them overboard.
- Retrieving decoys safely is best done using a pole to avoid leaning out over the water.
- Stay seated or kneel when shooting from a boat.
- Dress to protect against hypothermia, rapid reduction of body temperature occurs when boaters fall into cold water.
- If you should find yourself in the water, relax and stay with the boat.
- Do not drink alcohol.