Important Offshore Boating Tips
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Whether you are an experienced offshore boater or just starting out, there are several things you should consider before buying a new fishing boat. Considering the range, safety, and flexibility of trips are essential factors for any offshore fishing experience. Having the proper equipment and rod holders will help you have an enjoyable time in the water. Here are some things to consider:
Offshore boating can be both challenging and rewarding, but it also carries a high risk of personal injury or death. In the past six months alone, four recreational boaters have died in separate incidents off the South West Victorian coast. While the exact causes of the deaths are still being determined by subsequent inquiries, lessons from the tragedies can be learned to ensure everyone’s safety. Listed below are some of the safety tips to consider when you’re planning an offshore trip.
One of the most important safety measures for any vessel is the presence of firefighting equipment. Fires can quickly get out of control if not properly contained. Fires can also spread quickly on a boat, especially when it is filled with chemicals. A fire extinguisher is essential, as most of these chemicals are inflammable and cannot be put out by water. Fire extinguishers must be carried by all vessels with an inboard engine.
Another important safety measure is the presence of a VHF radio. It is a common safety precaution among offshore boaters, but 33 percent of them do not have one. A VHF radio not only allows routine communication with other boats, it also enables digital selective calling in an emergency. Like 911, digital selective calling enables rescuers to pinpoint the boater’s exact location and assess the nature of the emergency. To take advantage of digital selective calling, boaters must register for a free MMSI number.
Another safety feature to consider is the placement of handrails on offshore vessels. These are crucial for ensuring everyone’s safety when they are heading out to sea. It’s also important to have a well-equipped medical kit and an EPIRB. A good life raft is only as useful as its owner, so make sure you assign someone to be responsible for it. It’s not uncommon to find someone to take responsibility for the life raft on an offshore passage, but it’s important to always assign a person to be responsible for it.
If you are considering an adventure on a boat, there are a variety of resources available. Many boating guides are written for specific areas, and are filled with information on marine safety and local hazards. They also provide information on other activities such as water-skiing, PWCs, and closed water areas. Depending on the destination, there are even guides dedicated to specific types of watercraft, including sailboats and power boats.
One of the best ways to maximize your trip flexibility is by booking an offshore fishing adventure in advance. Booking early will allow you to tailor your trip to your particular needs and preferences, and you’ll be assured of a good catch rate. You can ask your booking agent for recommendations on the best trips for your needs, whether it’s a day trip or a longer trip. For example, you may want to plan a day trip if you’re fishing for large species, such as Amberjack. You can also book a trip for you and your family, or entertain friends.
The best rod holders for offshore boating are those with multiple slots. Rod holders for boats are available in many different materials, including stainless steel, fiberglass, ABS plastic, zinc, and stainless steel. Metal rod holders are best for rough water, while nylon rod holders won’t corrode. However, fiberglass rod holders are less durable than stainless steel rod holders. If you’re in a calmer sea, a chrome-plated brass rod holder would be the most durable.
Offshore boat rod holders come in various styles to fit your fishing style. For trolling, most models feature a 15-degree flush-mount rod holder. However, if you prefer fishing with heavy tackle, you can install a pair of swivel rod holders far forward in the console. You’ll find the right placement by consulting a marine dealer. The Mako 334 center console trolls with eight rods without teasers.
Offshore boating requires special safety equipment. You need life rafts of the proper size, an up-to-date battery, and an EPIRB with the latest registration. You also need a sat phone or SSB radio and the ability to download the latest weather forecasts. You should also have a personal signaling device in case you get lost or need assistance. It is also wise to pack a medical kit, an abandon-ship ditch bag, and other essential supplies.
You must carry life jackets for every member of your party. Other important safety equipment includes a bilge pump and bailer. A pair of oars is also recommended, as are a pair of paddles. A compass and marine chart are also essential safety equipment. They can help you navigate if the electronic equipment fails or if you’re in an area where land is not visible. You should also carry 2L of drinkable water for each person on board, as well as a map of the area.
An EPIRB is an emergency beacon that alerts search and rescue services if your vessel goes missing. It works by transmitting a distress message on the 406 MHz distress frequency, which is monitored by a global satellite system. Two handheld red flares are acceptable substitutes for an EPIRB, but smoke canisters are also acceptable. A radio with a waterproof receiver is also an important piece of safety equipment, but remember that it is not a replacement for the EPIRB.
Boat fire extinguishers are also important. You should make sure they are suited for the type of fuel that’s carried aboard. Also, remember to maintain them according to the AS 1851 standards. You should periodically shake them so they’re in the green zone. Be sure to replace extinguishers and check the pressure gauge regularly. Also, keep a bucket with lanyard handy. The bucket is useful if you have a fire involving wood, plastic, or paper.
Rick is the head writer at MaydayMarine.com Rick creates product review and ranking content in the maritime industry. His focus is mainly on safety offshore at MayDayMarine.com