Regularly at community events our team are asked why should you carry a VHF radio if you are a kayaker, dingy sailor, paddle boarder, personal water craft user, or off-shore fishermen when they could use their mobile phone instead if they get into difficulty? Even if you are not going far offshore you might not be able to get a mobile phone signal. Wet mobile phones don’t work very well and who knows what sea or weather conditions you may experience.
Angling is one of the most popular hobbies and sports enjoyed by a wide cross section of the community and at all age ranges. Between 2011-2015, 50 anglers tragically lost their lives while fishing around the UK coastline*.
Sadly, expert evidence from Professor Mike Tipton of Portsmouth University (2012) suggests that many of those lives might have been saved if the anglers had been wearing lifejackets.
If you are ill prepared and don’t know what to do things if things go wrong a nice day out can very easily turn into a nightmare. Colm Plunkett was wearing a lifejacket and had a plan when he got into difficulty whilst out angling. Check out the video below:
Here is some top safety tips to help you keep safe:
Should I let someone know where I am going and what time I will be back? Always let someone know where you will be fishing and what time you will be back. This will assist search and rescue teams with an area to start searching should you not return on time.
2. Carry a calling for help device such as a VHF radio or mobile phone in a waterproof case so that you can call for help if you get into difficulty.
3. Always wear a lifejacket no matter what type of weather/conditions or locations you are angling from. If you end up in the water and you are wearing a lifejacket, you are four times more likely to survive (Professor Mike Tipton Portsmouth University) More information on which lifejacket to wear – RNLI
5. What is ‘Float to Live’ – If you end up in the water, the RNLI recommend that you float on your back until you get your breath back. More information on Float to Live
6. Who Do I call in a coastal emergency at the coast? If you see an animal or person who you think is in difficulty in the water or at the coast phone ‘999’ or ‘112’ straightaway and ask for the Coastguard. Getting the right equipment and the correct rescue teams mobilised to the scene will have a significant impact on the outcome of the incident.
7. What is SafeTrx? Many anglers, divers, kayakers, open water swimmers and sailors are downloading the free SafeTrx mobile phone app which charts your passage and alerts an emergency contact if you fail to report in at an allocated time. Open water swimmers and divers are registering themselves as the ‘craft’ and will also notify the HM Coasguard if someone is late reporting in.
8. What clothing and kit should I pack for a fishing trip. Wearing a lifejacket will improve your chances by up four times if you end up in the water. Wearing crotch straps will also have a significant impact on the effectiveness of your lifejacket if you end up in the water. Why not check out the Henry Gilbey video below:
9. Is it better to take a mate along when I go fishing? There is always someone to share those great angling stories with over a cuppa or a bite to eat afterwards. Having a mate with you also ensures that there is someone to call for help if you get into difficulty.
10. Should I check tides and weather before I go fishing. It may seem obvious to check the tide times and weather forecast, but a recent lifeboat launch rescued two anglers who had been caught out by the tide. There are plenty of mobile device app’s which are free to download and use to show tide times and weather forecasts.
11. I have heard of Personal Locator Beacons, but what do they do? A PLB will increase the chances of search and rescue teams locating you quickly if you end up in the water in difficulty. There are plenty of examples of where sailors, kayakers and fishermen who have ended up in the water and have activated their PLB which has saved their life. They need to be registered with your details with the HM Coastguard.
12. What COVID-19 Safety Precautions should I take when I go fishing?
Drop us a DM on Facebook or Instagram if you would like your lifejackets checked for free or an ‘Advice on Board’ session (free check of your boat or craft to help you with safety). Please be aware that due to COVID-19 safety protocols we have had to suspend our lifejacket and Advice on Board sessions until further notice. However, we are happy to provide one-to-one advice over a virtual conference call.
*RNLI analysis of WAID UK fatalities accidental and natural causes only 2011-15 coastal data set
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