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Safety

Boating on inland waters requires the utmost care due to submerged trees and snags, shallow sand bars and other possible dangers and obstructions that may be hidden just below the surface. This is particularly important as lake levels decrease and new navigational hazards are uncovered. Inland waters are also often murky and constantly changing, so boating anglers should always maintain a safe speed and proper look out, and be familiar with the area before attempting any high speed activities.

Fishing is not a dangerous sport but safety around water is essential. Anglers should learn how to swim and use caution when wading and boating. It is a sensible practice to fish with a friend or have an adult present in case of an emergency.

Fishing is an outdoor activity, so it’s important to be prepared for the weather. Wearing the correct clothing can help protect against injury including the dangers of insect and snake bites. It’s vital for keeping warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather, and waterproof clothing is essential in Tasmania at any time of the year to avoid getting wet and chilled.

Fishing equipment needs to be handled responsibly. It’s sensible to look behind before casting to prevent snagging your line and hook on a power line, tree or person. Tackle and rods should not be left lying on the ground where someone can trip on them, step on a hook or break something. Take precautions like removing the hook or lure from the line and storing it in your tackle box when transporting fishing equipment.

Boat Safety

Ensure all on board are wearing a life jacket and have up to date safety and emergency equipment.

Boating on inland waters requires the utmost care due to submerged trees and snags, shallow sand bars and other possible dangers and obstructions that may be hidden just below the surface. This is particularly important as lake levels decrease and new navigational hazards are uncovered.

Inland waters are also often murky and constantly changing, so boating anglers should always maintain a safe speed and proper look out, and be familiar with the area before attempting any high speed activities.

Responsible boating

Certain inland waters, particularly during periods of low water, may be extremely shallow and are more susceptible to the impact of boats with outboard motors. Hence boaters are encouraged to practice minimal impact boating by accelerating gently in shallow water to avoid the underwater wash from the propeller jest stirring up silt and mud. This sediment clouds the water, disturbs sensitive weed beds, smothers aquatic plants and degrades fish habitat. The general rule is “If it’s white, it’s all right but if it’s brown, slow down.”

Use an appropriate size of boat and motor for the water you’re fishing in. Preferably use electric motors in shallow lakes and weedy margins of lakes, and use 4 stroke or low emission 2 stroke motors to reduce the amount of petrochemicals released into the environment.

Boaters are reminded that it is an offence to fish from a boat within 100 m of an anglers fishing from the shore unless the boat is securely moored. Boaters are also urged to think of others when using boat ramps and parking areas, so as not to obstruct or hamper the use of the area by others.

Water safety

Marine and Safety Tasmania (MAST) has a set of minimum safety requirements for owners and operators of motor-propelled recreational vessels on inland waters. It is mandatory to wear a life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD) at all times on inland waters when under power on all boats 6 metres or less.

With the increased use of inflatable life jackets, MAST urges owners to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance and regular servicing. PDFs require greater care than foam filled life jackets and they should be checked manually before boating to ensure that the canister is tight and not rusty, and that the gas bladder is not leaking. Anyone wearing a PFD should be clear on how to use it in an emergency.

Wader Safety

Although waders are suitable for angling from the shore and are an ideal garment to keep anglers dry and warm, MAST recommends that waders should not be used in boats. This is because the chances of drowning are high if a person wearing waders falls in the water because the waders quickly flood with water and can drag the person under. One precaution is to wear a belt fastened around the waste to restrict water from entering the waders and providing an air trap, which may provide some buoyancy to keep afloat, should the wearer fall in the water.

Hypothermia

With some inland waters open to fishing all year round, and at any time of the year at most inland waters in the State, the risk of hypothermia is great due to low water temperatures and extreme wind chill. Hypothermia can result from prolonged heat loss due to immersion or insufficient clothing in cold, wet and windy conditions. Inland boaters should take precautions against the risk of hypothermia and be aware of its symptoms and treatment. Refer to the specific instructions for the treatment of hypothermia and other issues boating on inland waters at www.mast.tas.gov.au.

Visit www.mast.tas.gov.au for a detailed list of safety standards and specific information for boating anglers.

Fishing Safety Tips

  • If using a boat to fish, wear a life jacket and make sure each passenger wears one, too.
  • Inspect waterfronts daily—the natural environment is subject to change without notice.
  • Don't fish in areas where it is not permitted. These areas have been declared “off limits” to protect wildlife, vegetation, or for your safety.
  • When choosing a site for fishing, always consider safety factors. Because fishing is practiced in a variety of environments, evaluate factors specific to safety in each environment.
  • Weather is always a factor. Set up a weather committee or rotate weather forecasting responsibilities.
  • Bring along extra safety items such as water, flashlights, maps, and a cell phone or radio.
  • Always wear footgear appropriate to the conditions.
  • Stay dry, warm and protected from the elements. Wear a waterproof sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15. Wear thin layers of clothing that progress outward to include water and wind protection as the final layer.
  • Use appropriate insect protection measures, including proper clothing and repellents.
  • Keep fishing knives sharp and cover the blade when not in use.
  • Handle fish carefully.
  • Use safety glasses when casting.
  • Use caution when baiting and removing hooks.