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Anglers Edge

Posted by Don on July 20, 2009 in Angler Improvement Articles with No Comments

by Don Allphin

We live in a wonderful part of Utah.   Reservoirs provide great opportunities to spend quality time with family and friends while cooling off during the hot, hot summer.  However, every year boating accidents take several lives, and I believe most are preventable.

For some reason, people don’t believe they need to wear a life jacket when their main motors are running.  This is a huge mistake!  Tournament bass anglers must wear their life jackets whenever the big motor is operating and I can tell you first-hand that some of my closest fishing buddies wouldn’t be alive today if it were not for that rule.  So many things can happen to a boat while it’s moving through the water, any of which could turn a fun day into a tragic one in the blink of an eye.

Here is a partial list of hazards to consider before you leave your life jackets in the storage compartment:

  1.  The propeller could break or shear.  This happened to a friend this spring on the Columbia River in Washington.  Even with his life jacket on, he spent the night in the hospital after being thrown from his boat.
  2. The boat could hit a hidden object.  Another friend hit a submerged log and split his hull, throwing him and his partner out of the boat and knocking both of them unconscious.   But because they wore great life jackets, they floated safely until they were rescued.
  3. Shallow reefs could cause a quick turn thus capsizing the boat.  I’ve watched this happen at Lake Powell quite often.  Boaters fail to notice the change in water color indicating shallow water before it’s too late.  A quick turn of the wheel and the boat capsizes on top of the reef.
  4. High wind or waves could swamp the boat.  At a bass tournament earlier this year, my partner and I were idling out of the marina area at Bullfrog when a friend turned too sharp, hit a wave and he and his companion were thrown from their boat.  We arrived on the scene in less than a minute and both anglers’ life jackets had deployed and though they were shaken up, they were still alive and relatively well.

With new-age styles of life jackets readily available on the market, I can’t think of a single reason not to use them whenever you’re enjoying our many lakes and reservoirs. They’re thin yet effective, light weight yet durable.  Please consider changing your ways if you’re a person who doesn’t use a jacket.  Never forget that boating safety begins with you and me.

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