Camping Water Safety: Fishing, Boating and More

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Camping Water Safety: Fishing, Boating and More

The most popular activity people participate in during camping trips is hiking, but polls indicate that many campers enjoy recreational activities involving water such as boating and fishing. Here are a few insightful stats from a 2015 outdoor recreation trends report.

  • About 87 percent of campers participate in other outdoor activities while camping.
  • Number of campers participating in water-related activities: Fishing: 18 percent, Kayaking: 14 percent, Canoeing: 11 percent, Boating: 6 percent, Rafting: 5 percent, Wakeboarding: 3 percent.
  • Boating participation has increased, with outboard boats such as pontoons, aluminum fishing and small family cruisers the most popular.

Injury Facts and Stats

  • Alcohol is the top known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents.
  • The number one type of boating accident is collision with another recreational vehicle.
  • Operator inattention is the leading cause of boating accidents.
  • In 418 fatal boat-related drowning cases, 337 victims were not wearing lifejackets.
  • In 2013, there were more than 70,000 fishing-related injuries treated at U.S. hospital emergency rooms.

Camping Safety

  • Pack foods in tight, waterproof bags or containers and put them in an insulated cooler.
  • Wash hands and surfaces often and bring hand sanitizer in case water is not available.
  • Separate raw foods from cooked foods.
  • While it may look pure, do not drink water from streams, springs, ponds, or lakes as it could be contaminated.
  • Bring an adequate supply of water for everyone in your camping party.
  • Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30-50 on exposed areas such as your face, neck, and hands and reapply it every two hours. This is even more important if you are on the water because its reflective nature puts you at greater risk of getting burned.
  • Wear a wide brim hat and sunglasses to protect your eyes from the powerful rays of the sun.
  • Use insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol for long-lasting protection.
  • Never leave a child unattended, including during recreational activities.

Water-Related Activities and Prevention Tips

Being around water comes with risks, in particular if you are camping with young children. Boating comes with its own dangers, especially when alcohol is involved. While fishing is not a dangerous sport, hooks are very sharp and you need to be careful. There are several things to be aware of and prevention steps to take so that a fun outing doesn’t turn into a trip to the emergency room or worse.

Fishing Safety

  • When fishing from a boat, always wear a lifejacket.
  • Carefully check an area before wading in, and wade in cautiously.
  • Hooks are very sharp, so look around before you cast to avoid hooking a power line, tree, or another person.
  • Fish at least 30 feet away from the person nearest to you.
  • Never grab a fish where it is hooked because if the fish wiggles, the hook could end up in your hand.
  • Never go fishing alone – always fish with at least one other person, but ideally two.
  • Do not use drugs or drink alcohol when fishing.
  • Don’t leave your tackle lying on the ground because somebody might trip on it and hurt themselves or break your tackle.
  • Use a hook remover to carefully extract a hook that is deep in the fish’s mouth, rather than reaching in with your hand.
  • Always wear non-slip shoes when fishing on shore, in a boat, or wading in the water.

Boating Safety

  • Make sure your motor and boat are serviced regularly
  • Equip your boat with adequate first-aid kits and required rescue devices.
  • Stay seated as much as possible while in the boat.
  • Know how much weight your boat can safely carry, distribute it evenly, and never overload it.
  • Do not use drugs or drink alcohol when boating.
  • Remain a safe distance from low water dams and other restricted areas.
  • Be aware of changing weather and dock your boat before the onset of storms.
  • If you are in a boat during a storm, check to make sure everyone’s life jackets are being worn properly, cautiously move to the shore, and beach the boat.

Consider purchasing a Hunters Survival Kit, which comes jam packed with all the things you might forget to pack, but will be thankful you have on hand while camping. 

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