Boat fishing is an age-old tradition on St Helena, where fishermen travel out on boats to bring back a fresh 'catch' to either sell or share with family and friends. It is also a recreational activity with some fishermen opting to adopt the 'catch and release' method. No matter the reason for the trip or the methods used, boat fishing has and will continue to be a popular ocean activity for locals and visitors alike.
As with any ocean-based activity, boat fishing has its risks. If safety aspects are not considered before going out on a boat fishing trip then things can quickly go wrong resulting in an emergency situation.
As part of their Safety Awareness Campaign, the St Helena Sea Rescue Service would like to ensure that everyone is aware of the best ways to keep safe when boat fishing.
When boat fishing in St Helena waters:
Check the latest weather and sea forecasts to ascertain whether it would be practical to go boat fishing or not
Never fish alone
Carry out a radio check before leaving the harbour and inform St Helena Radio where you are going, your expected time of return, and how many people are on board the boat
Ensure vessel and all safety equipment are in working order and that operating equipment is functioning correctly
Check that you have sufficient fuel for your trip. Carry extra fuel and oil and ensure this is secured
Once back, inform St Helena Radio of your return to the harbour
Things you should wear/pack when boat fishing:
Always wear appropriate clothing and footwear
Try to wear lightweight garments, worn in layers. Bulky woollen jumpers become heavy and can be difficult to remove if you fall in the water
Wear a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) or a lifejacket at all times
Always pack an adequate supply of food and plenty of drinking water
Take a spare handheld radio, GPS, and also a fully charged mobile phone
Take a First-Aid kit. This should include at least a bandage, gauze, plasters and some antiseptic cream or wipes along with any prescribed medication
Always pack a torch, even if you don't plan on being out after dark
Remember to protect yourself from the sun by wearing sunscreen, lip balm, an appropriate hat and sunglasses
These tips will help ensure you have the safest possible experience when boat fishing around the Island. Please ensure that you, along with your family and friends, are aware of this advice.
Sea Rescue Manager, Simon Wade, said:
It is encouraging to see that more and more safety measures are being taken by those who go boat fishing and those who are travelling to fishing spots by boat. I hope that this culture of 'safety first' continues to develop and grow within the local community.
A basic Boat Fishing Checklist is attached to this Press Release.
Source: St Helena Government