Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mayday Safety Tips for May Day

So...today is May 1st.  May Day.  Also, the first day of "Every Day In May."  I hope some of you other bloggers are attempting the challenge as well.  If you eliminate the space, you get mayday, as in "help our ship is sinking."  So with that in mind, I will re-cap a few things you should know about kayak fishing safety.

The number one rule when kayak fishing: Wear your PFD.  The most common PFD (personal flotation device) is a life jacket.  There are all different types, so when you go to your local livery or fishing shop be sure to try as many on as possible.  If you can, sit in your kayak with it on to see how it fits.  Remember you will be wearing this all day, so get one that is comfortable.  Versions are made with a flat back that is comfortable against a seat, some that have the back floatation up higher so that it is above you seat, and some that wrap over your shoulders and wrap around to the front.  Basically the options are almost limitless, so you can find one that is comfortable.  Once you get one, USE IT.  It will save your life.

Number two is a first aid kit.  You can buy one pre-packed or pack your one in a dry bag or box.  Take it with you every time you go out.  You really do not know what will happen.  I keep my first-aid kit in the kayak all the time.

Sun protection! There are several ways to keep the sun from burning your skin, and several reason of why you would want to prevent this.  The first reason is because it is uncomfortable when the sun starts cooking you, and your going to want to get off the water.  The next reason is if you are sunburned, you wont want to get back on the water the next day (it hurts.)  And the third and most important reason is preventing skin cancer.  You can use sunscreen, long-sleeves and long pants, hats, buffs, sunglasses and gloves.  All of which serve their purpose at different times.

Sunglasses go beyond sun protection for your eyes, they also serve as protection from flying hooks and other eye gougers.  Whether your fly fishing or conventional fishing, hooks will be flying through the air at some point.  Your sunglasses are great protection against these becoming lodged in your eye.  And, when your kayaking down a river, there are often overhanging branches that are sometimes impossible to avoid.  So, to avoid these poking your eye out, wear your sunglasses.

And, one last note on kayak fishing safety.  Always, always, always, let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.  It is safest to kayak with someone else, but I know that is, a) not always possible, and b) not always fun.  For some of us, the reason we got into kayak fishing was for the solitude.  That is fine, as long as someone knows where and when to come looking for you.

So, avoid a MAYDAY on this May Day, and be safe on the water.

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