The past decade has seen an increase in extreme and unforeseen weather events, and this has had an impact on the safety of anglers. CDC statistics indicate that commercial and private fishing accidents continue to rise from their previous low of 2014, and part of this can be linked to a change in conditions undermining the experience of hobbyists. As a result, there has never been a more important moment in which to review fishing safety fundamentals and ensure that you’re taking every precaution you need.
The increasing danger in water is clearly demonstrated by Data.gov boating accident statistics. According to Coast Guard News, accidents continue to rise nearly 1% year on year, with the number of non-fatal injuries rising 1.9%. The data also nods at a generally lower rate of preparation from those embarking on trips, such as neglecting the use of a life jacket. This would indicate that this is a better time than ever to revisit fundamental boat safety advice to lessen the risk of injury or drowning. Make sure you have the full safety kit every time you embark – flares, life jackets, emergency communications, and rudimentary repair kits.
While the planet continues to heat, that doesn’t mean that everywhere will always be hotter. This is exemplified by the cold snaps that have struck the northern USA for a few years now, the January 2014 displaced polar vortex being a key example of this. For anglers on waterways, that means re-assessing your normal preparations. You can, and should, be prepared for more extreme weather. Think warmer clothes than you might usually take out, or more shade if it’s likely your usual fishing spot will experience greater hot weather.
Changing your habits:
Extreme weather and climate change will, unfortunately, change where fish decide to congregate. According to the National Wildlife Federation, warm-water fish have already been seen to migrate away from usual feeding grounds, with the opposite being true for cold-water fish. Furthermore, the intrusion of salty waters into rivers – and, again, vice-versa – is changing ecosystems. It can be tempting to move into new areas without first getting a lay of the land, or going for more risky catches that involve uncertain ground or waters. Make sure you do your research before shifting your usual catch spots.
The world is changing, and the pursuit of angling with it. Adapting is important. Not only will this help you to continue enjoying angling, but it will keep you safe, too.