Boating Tips

Boating Tips: Safe On The Skiff

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Annually, the rate of accidents involving fishermen is nearly 10 times that of water skiers and wake boarders. The reason for this is that people on skis usually have a spotter and other boaters close on hand in the event of an emergency.

In contrast, anglers often fish in solitude in quiet spots, or offshore without other boats in the near vicinity and, often anglers do not wear life jackets. The combination of the solitude and the lack of a life jacket can be a dangerous mix. Learning boating safety is as important for fishermen as it is for all boaters.


Knowing your boat’s limitations is of primary importance. Smaller boats capsize easily when there is large wave action in relation to the size of the boat.

Apart from capsizing, smaller fishing boats are usually open and if the swells are large enough, water can easily fill the boat and cause it to sink. The freeboard (distance between the upper rail and the top of the waterline) on smaller boats is minimal, making them more susceptible to taking on water.


On most single-hulled boats up to 20-foot, the loading capacity maximums and other information can be found on the capacity plate on the hull of the boat.

The capacity plate indicates the maximum load weights and maximum horsepower rating for the boat to operate safely. If the capacity plate is missing, the approximate number of passengers can be calculated by taking the length of the boat, multiplying it by the breadth and dividing the total by 15.

As an example, a 20-foot boat multiplied by its 6-foot breadth and divided by 15, can take 8 crew members. Another factor that contributes to capsizing is an uneven load.


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