October through December are statistically the most dangerous months for anglers on California’s waterways. The California Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW) boating accident statistics show that close to 90 percent of all fishing-related boating fatalities in the off-season involve vessels capsizing or people falling overboard. To improve the chances of surviving such accidents, DBW urges anglers to use safe boating practices, especially the use of life jackets.
“Many water enthusiasts believe that knowing how to swim is enough protection from drowning,” said DBW’s acting director Lucia Becerra. “Knowing how to swim is not enough. Injuries, cold water, cramps, poor health and heavy clothing are just some of the reasons why good swimmers not wearing life jackets have drowned.”
Below are some other safety tips that anglers should follow:
- Check weather reports and wave conditions.
- Use the appropriate size/type of boat for your boating activity.
- File a float plan to alert family and friends of your whereabouts.
- Do not boat alone.
- Avoid wearing heavy clothing.
- Use appropriate lighting when boating at night.
- Pay attention to your vessel’s position in the surf line.
DBW invites anglers to become heroes themselves by taking the life jacket oath. By taking the oath, anglers promise to keep themselves and their family and friends safe by making sure that everyone on their boat wears life jackets. Participants also have the chance to receive an inflatable life jacket. Visit BoatResponsibly.com for more details on this program.
*DBW enhances public access to California’s waterways and promotes boating and aquatic safety through programs funded by vessel registration fees, boating fuel tax dollars and boating facility construction loan payments.