Winter boating survival

S

scn

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I had this one in the fishing forum where not everybody goes, and thought it was worth a thought in here as well:

We have seen at least two reports of boating fatalities from fishermen in the last couple of weeks. I'm sure a search would reveal a waterfowl hunter fatality as well as they happen every season. I've come pretty close to going in a number of times. Ruger saw me almost slide into the bayou down in LA last spring. When it is warm, it may not be that big of a deal. At this time of year, it is. Since a rapid immersion into frigid waters can cause some involuntary body reactions, fishermen and hunters likely should be wearing a pfd even out with another person that can help them back into the boat. If they are by themselves, it for sure should be on.

The next issue, particularly if you are by yourself, is how you are going to get back into your boat if you do go over. With wet, bulky clothing, it certainly isn't as easy as in the summer in a pair of shorts. Couple that with muscles cramping, and it can be a life/death deal.

If your boat has a boarding ladder on the transom, you are likely in good shape. If there isn't one, it could be tough. I fish out of a high sided jon boat that would be tough to climb into weighted down with wet winter clothes. To make it hopefully possible, I recently purchased this product from Amazon. If I am by myself, it is attached where I can reach over the side and grab it to deploy: https://www.amazon.com/Rescue-Steps-Alu ... boat+steps There are other safety steps out there as well.

It also makes sense to have some basic survival gear in the boat every time you go out at this time of year. A couple of the cheap survival space blankets https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss ... al+blanket to wrap around someone that has gone in and made it back into the boat could mean the difference in life/death as you get them back to a warm vehicle with a long boat ride in frigid temps. It just takes mere minutes for hypothermia to set in if you are wet, even in temps up into the 50s. Add some waterproof matches and some fire starters to your kit, and if you have access to a shoreline with some wood, you could immediately start the warming process. Such a basic kit would fit in a small ziplock bag. A heavy duty survival blanket is even better insurance: https://www.amazon.com/Grabber-Outdoor- ... heavy+duty. Again, there isn't a lot of room in a boat taken up by this.

If you have the room, a rolled up set of insulated coveralls in the boat lets the wet clothes come off for the ride back in. But, in small boats, there may not be the storage room for such.

I've seen a MAJOR turn for the better over the past few years with folks taking personal responsibilities for their tree stand safety with tree harnesses with thoughts of their families. It is time for the same considerations if you are on the water in the fall to late spring time frame. What would likely just be an embarrassing mistake during the summer can become deadly in a hurry in cold water and cold temps.
 
Nimrod777

Nimrod777

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Seems like they would/should/could make boat flotation cushions that also contained One Size Fits All emergency suits made of space blanket type material.

And either they do, or now someone will make a boatload of money off my idea.

Can't imagine going in the water during seasons like this.
 
Biggun4214

Biggun4214

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Wrapping in a small tarp can help maintain body heat in an emergency. Also those that wear an inflatable PFD, you should remember that it may not fully inflate. A vest will maintain core body heat much better even though it may be bulkier.
 
RUGER

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Very good post.
Yep I thought you were wet in LA for sure.
Those leaner seats will get ya when you bend over and they hit your butt.
Man loves hunting the river when everything locks up.
I hate it.


Sent from my LGL52VL using Tapatalk
 
T

tahtah

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Timely and thoughtful post with some good tips. Thank you!
 
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Grnwing

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I would stress the importance of good clothing(wool and synthetics) when on the water in cold temps. I always pack a separate dry bag with a compete change of clothes(long underwear, wool socks, wool sweater, windshear sweater wool gloves, neck gaitier and hat) in my canoe. You have just minutes to make some very important decisions and having your emergency gear with you and accessible is a must. Great post!!
 
B

BlackBelt

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Thanks for this post. There are some things here I had not considered before.
 
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Laserman1

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I used to tie a rope with slack in it from pedestal seat to pedestal seat. If you fell in, you could reach into the boat at any point, grab the rope, and pull yourself in.
 

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