Winter Boating Safety Tips Capsizing and falling overboard into cold water are major hazards for waterfowl hunters. As a responsible hunter, you need to be aware of the dangers and follow a few simple rules to make your hunt on the water safer. By taking the time to set rules along with checking the weather for wind speeds, can prevent someones life being put at risk. Due to liability, hunting guides do not commonly take parties out to hunt Ellis Bay. Many duck hunters have died or become extremely ill due to falling overboard!
Falling Over Wearing Waders: Waters of the Wicomico River are deep enough that if your waders fill up with water not only are you at risk for hypothermia but also drowning. As your waders fill with water you will be pulled down below the surface. Attempting to remove waders will be difficult in such a situation before it is too late because the pressure from the water in the river will tighten the waders to your body. The best way to prevent anything bad from happening is to put on your waders once you arrive to a safe depth of water. Be sure to use extreme caution when boating in any body of water too deep while wearing waders.
Rules to Consider: • Leave a float plan with someone at home, describing where you are going, who you are with and when you expect to return • Transport firearms to the boat unloaded, cased, muzzle first, with the action open • Always wear an approved and properly fitted Personal Flotation Device when in a boat • Carry a throwable flotation device in case someone falls overboard • Stow visual distress signals on board in a waterproof container • Know the weather forecast for the area. High winds can be dangerous. Cancel trip if water conditions aren’t safe. Keep an AM radio handy for the latest updates • Never overload your boat. Load gear low in the boat and distribute the weight evenly • Always stay seated when shooting from an open boat • Never anchor from the stern • At the first sign of a storm, head for shore or safe harbor • If an accident occurs, STAY WITH THE BOAT and use distress signals • If wearing chest waders, use a belt to keep them from filling up with water • Unless the clothing is creating a hazard, do not remove extra clothing. It can help prevent hypothermia • To retain body heat, pull your knees to your chest and keep your elbows to your sides
WARNING It is very important to use EXTREME CAUTION when hunting on the water during winter temperatures as many people have actually died in such areas identical, less or more extreme than the Wicomico River! Many people have fallen overboard of a vessel while hunting in the cold. Falling into the water at freezing temperature is extremely dangerous to your health. Many people have also fallen over while wearing their waders and were unable to stay above the surface. Due to all of the water that had accumulated inside of their waders, such people drowned. Be sure to be safe and responsible while being out on big waters in such harsh conditions.