It’s a sad fact that every year, worldwide, while not wearing a fishing life jacket thousands of fishermen and their fishing buddies die from drowning while fishing commercially and for sport. The sad part is many lives could have been saved by the use of a simple fishing life jacket, floatation suite, buoyancy aid life jacket and they are not uncomfortable to wear either, in fact, many are comfortable and warm.
To ensure you can be there in the future to land the BIG ONE, you need the proper equipment on hand. In addition to your fishing equipment, snacks, supplies, and other clothing, you also need to wear a personal flotation device.
Thanks to modern technology, we now have many choices and styles to choose from. They each have their own safety function and purposes.
In addition to the traditional fisherman life vest, and buoyancy aids, there are also self-inflating vests, self-inflating preservers, and self-directing lifesavers. Each of these is suited to a particular type of boating, kayaking, or fishing venture.
Why wear a fishing life jacket? Safety first!
Although fishing is a fun and rewarding experience, like most sports in life there are risks involved. Aside from getting pricked by the fishing hook or snapping the occasional line under the weight of a big one, there is risk associated with the water itself.
When wading out in our gorgeous lakes, rivers, and streams, or boating on them or the ocean, there is a risk of slipping and falling into the water. It is easy to get hurt and not be able to get up or back onto the boat. Even the best of swimmers could find themselves in a situation where they could not swim for help, or get out of the water.
This is where the fishing life jacket or vest comes in. Its very function is to elevate the face and chest above water so that the wearer can breathe, even while unconscious. If a person wearing a life preserver vest or jacket slips and gets their foot stuck or twisted while wading, the vest will help them keep their head above water until someone comes to help.
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The links below provide full floatation suits, life jackets, and buoyancy, some buoyancy jackets are aids and not life jackets. Never purchase anything without checking details first.
Wading in rivers or lakes: Wearing a fishing life jacket gives confidence wading in deep or fast water
Wearing a fishing life jacket In shallow or deep water can give you the confidence you need to focus more on your fishing rather than the possibility of drowning. You should still invest in a good pair of waders that are made for slippery surfaces. However, a good life preserver is added safety you cannot be without.
Many lives could be saved each year if more and more fly fisherman wore at the least the minimal self-inflating variety. It would be best to wear a buoyant vest. These are made in slimmer and slimmer varieties that allow for more ease of movement than their precursors.
However, if the stream is quite shallow, say knee deep or lower, the recommended minimum is a self-inflating vest. These are lightweight and take up about as much space as your fly fishing vest. Sometimes they take up a lot less room than that.
They are there for those little emergencies such as slipping and falling while in the river or stream. Rescue agencies recommend these for those ages 16 or up. Those of younger years should be fitted for a full flotation life vest.
While fishing in the sea from a boat or shore, A fishing life jacket is a must!
Anyone who has been at sea knows that she is a temperamental beauty. Sudden winds, high waves, or storms can seem to creep up out of nowhere and easily toss men overboard. So along with the wonderful joys of fly fishing in the high sea come the dangers of being swept overboard and drowning. That is why wearing a full flotation life preserver vest is extremely important.
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When on deck, all passengers must wear a well-fitting life jacket. And while below deck it is important that they at least wear an inflatable life weight version. In doing so, not only will you and all your fellow fishermen be safe, you will all be following the boating regulations and laws. So be sure to have the appropriate vests for all the ages of those on board and extra flotation devices for added safety.
Above all, Be safe and look after your fishing life jacket
In addition to wearing the proper fishing equipment for the type of fishing you are doing, it is also important to keep it well maintained and well fitting. It would be so easy to accidentally prick the self-inflating life vest with a sharp object. Or leave it out in the offseason for it to be chewed on by insects or critters.
That is why it is important to inspect your life jackets each and every time you put them on to make sure they are in proper working order. Every year you should also check to make sure your life jacket and vest fit well. An ill-fitting jacket, either too small or too big, can easily slip off or be too small to hold a person up.
Other ways to ensure water safety would be to make sure you wear proper fitting clothing, slip-resistant shoes, goulashes, and wading boots and vests, and always let someone know where you are going. Keeping one person well informed of where you will be, your complete planned trip, when you leave and when you should return is important.
That way if you and your fishing party are late in returning, they know where to send help. Remember to follow all safe fishing practices, after all, we all want to be around for next years fishing opener, don’t we? Tight Lines.