Essential Safety Tips For Sea Fishing In Winter

Essential Safety Tips For Sea Fishing In Winter

Many anglers – especially those who like to fish at sea – prefer to wrap up their gear for the year once winter arrives. But if you’re willing to brave the elements and follow some key safety rules, the colder season can be a great time to fish.

The waters around Britain tend to be rife with cod at this time of the year, so you might want to get out there if you fancy making some serious savings on your fish and chips!

In this blog post, we’ll go over some of the most important safety tips to remember when winter sea fishing. Follow our guidance and you should be able to safely enjoy some angling regardless of what month or season it is.

Check Weather

We’ll start by saying that if the weather conditions are particularly bad, it’s probably best to postpone your trip until another day.

As most of us are only too aware lately, winter weather can be unpredictable at the best of times, with thunderstorms, snowfall and strong winds becoming an increasingly common occurrence. 

If you’re out sea fishing, these adverse conditions can create some turbulent waves, which could be dangerous. So assess the conditions and take a look at weather forecasts before you get on the water – if it seems too risky then stay on land!

If you decide to fish, make sure that all of your equipment is suitable for potentially challenging conditions and always have a way of communicating with people on land jus in case anything goes wrong.

Boat Maintenance

To ensure your boat is ready and raring to go during winter, you’ll need to maintain it properly to keep it protected from the harsh elements. 

During winter, water and fuel can freeze and expand, which can burst pipes and cause damage to engine parts. So remember to use marine-grade antifreeze in the engine and plumbing systems to prevent damage when the mercury plummets.

Before you set off into the winter waters, be sure to conduct a thorough check of your boat's mechanical and electrical systems. The colder temperatures can play havoc with your engine, fuel lines and battery, so pay special attention to these.

Additionally, you’ll need to take a good look at the hull for any signs of wear, cracks or damage. The corrosive nature of saltwater requires extra care and attention, so you may wish to apply some marine-grade products to prevent rust and extend the life of your boat’s critical components.

Safety Gear

Sea fishing can pose all sorts of risks, especially in winter. So before you head off, ensure you have the correct safety gear for you and your companions.

If you don't already have them, buy a life jacket for each person on the trip. Moreover, your boat should also be equipped with navigational tools such as GPS and radar which will help you stay on course. 

A reliable marine radio is also essential for communication and summoning assistance if needed, providing a lifeline if anything goes wrong while you’re on the water.

Assess Visibility

When you head out on the water during winter, visibility can often be poor due to fog, rain or low light. This limited visibility can pose a safety risk, especially if you’re fishing in areas where there are rocks, cliffs or other boats.

So assess the visibility before you leave. If you’re going to struggle to see, it’s probably wise to stay on land. 

If you decide to fish, to overcome poor visibility, you can take some precautions that will make your fishing expedition safer. Equip yourself with some high-visibility gear with bright colours and reflective elements so it’s easy for others to spot you, and carry a waterproof torch to help you see in case visibility drops suddenly.

Remain Conscious Of Time

We all know that winter produces the shortest days and you’ll want to avoid being out at night. That’s because diminished visibility during dusk and dawn can increase the risk of accidents.

Our advice to help you get the most from your time on the water is to head out at first light, that way you’ll have enough time to have a great day of catching before getting back before the sun goes down.

Furthermore, check what time the sun will set before you head out and keep your eye on the time, ensuring you have enough time to get back to land before it goes dark.

Fish With Friends

During winter, sea conditions can quickly change, and accidents or emergencies are more likely to occur. 

This is why it always makes sense to fish with at least one friend. This makes your fishing safer in case anything goes wrong as you’ll have a friend there to assist, and vice versa.

It’s also a good idea to let friends or family know you’ve gone to fish, explaining your intended location. This measure ensures that your loved ones can call for help in the event you don't return when you’re supposed to.

Warm Drinks And Snacks

Being out on the water in cold temperatures can lead to fatigue, which may dampen your mood and affect your enjoyment. To counter this, take a flask with a hot beverage to keep you warm, while high-calorie snacks such as protein bars or nuts should help to keep your energy levels high.

So those are our top tips for enjoying a sea fishing trip safely. Although winter can throw up some challenging conditions for anglers, by following our guidance you can limit the risks and enjoy a fishing expedition safely.

To recap, check the weather forecasts, assess visibility, perform essential boat maintenance and keep your eye on the time while you’re out on the water, as well as ensuring you don't go out alone and always tell someone where you’re going. By doing all this, your trip should run smoothly and you should get back on dry land safely.