Fishing: First Aid and Safety Measures

For as long as human beings have been on this planet, health has been the top priority, First Aid and Safety Measures are things that you need to make sure you’re aware and get well in a specific situation. People all around the globe are keeping aware of their health levels, considering every factor that could make them ill, and thus choosing to keep themselves safe.

According to the World Health Organization, health is the physical, mental and spiritual well-being. That said, having a hobby is important for your health, too. Keeping yourself busy while doing something that fulfils you is very important and can make a big difference to your mental and physical health. But what happens when your hobby of choice involves some dangers?

When it comes to fishing it’s a great way to clear your mind, relax and have fun. But there are certainly a few dangers for which you want to be prepared. In this article we’ll talk about accidents and injuries that might happen on your fishing trip, what kind of first aid knowledge is needed and what are the most important safety measures you should keep.

Hook injury

Getting injured by your hook is considered to be the most common fishing accident. This injury usually happens to a person’s palm or face, and although it is not extremely  hard to take the hook out yourself, you should always keep in mind that the presence of the spike at the top of the hook, forces you to choose somewhat unusual techniques.

If there is no spike, all you have to do is hold the hook parallel to the surface of the skin, press the shank downwards to release the barb from the tissues and pull the hook outwards in the same direction in which it was inserted.

first aid - hook injury

Now, if there is a spike, what you should do is tie a string or line through the middle of the neck of the hook and hold the other end of the string securely (some people tie the other end of the string to their wrist). Get your first aid kit ready, immobilize the part of the body where the hook is located on a stable surface. Keeping the shank parallel to the surface of the skin and while pressing down on it, pull the string with a sudden movement and remove the hook.

IMPORTANT: You must go to the hospital and not attempt taking the hook out yourself if it has entered the eye socket, if the cut seems to be deep, if there is a lot of blood, id there is puss or if more than one hook / a hook and its line or bait have entered your skin simultaneously.

Injuries from falling or slipping

Considering the fact that fishing is an activity that takes place near water, it is not impossible that you slip and fall, thus injuring yourself. In that situation you should follow the R.I.C.E principle aka Rest – Ice – Compression – Elevation. No matter if you hurt your back, your head, your hips, or your limbs, following the R.I.C.E. protocol is needed. However, you should definitely consider paying a visit to your doctor or the hospital afterwards, in order to make sure the injury wasn’t serious.

First things first, right after your injury you should rest. Get into a sitting position, rest and do nothing that is tiring, for at least 15 minutes. While resting you should keep ice on top of your injury. That way you can reduce swelling, bruising and bleeding, while it can also help with the pain. After applying ice on the injury, you can move to the next step, which is compressions. This can also prevent swelling and bleeding. Just make sure that the tightness is not too much. Last but not least, it’s time for elevation. By elevating the injured area, you can decrease the pain you feel.

Heatstroke and Sunstroke

Heatstroke is what happens to your body when you spend too much time at a place where the heat is too high for your organism to function correctly. Sunstroke might be mistakenly taken as heatstroke. However, that is not correct. While sunstroke is an also dangerous situation, it is not as life-threatening as heatstroke. Sunstroke is what happens when you are exposed to the sun for a very long time. 

If you decide to go fishing on a very hot, humid, summer day you should definitely watch out!  In order to prevent heatstroke & sunstroke, you should wear light, white-colored clothing, use sunscreen, drink a lot of water, avoid fatty foods or big meals, avoid alcohol and stay at a shaded place.

In case you unfortunately are a victim of heatstroke or sunstroke you should immediately dial your country’s medical emergency number. Until the ambulance arrives, you should move to a place where there’s shade and try to lower your body’s temperature by using a mini fan, getting yourself wet, putting ice under your armpits, lifting your legs, unbuttoning your shirt and taking off any type of clothing or accessory that is tight. Make sure you will remain calm until the paramedics are there, and also don’t be shy to ask for someone’s help or company, since heatstroke is a very dangerous threat to someone’s life.

First Aid Kit

It is very important for every person to have their own first aid kit. Whether someone keeps it at home, at work, inside their car or anywhere else, it’s nice to be prepared and safe in case any accident or injury occurs. The same goes for fishermen. If you fish as a hobby or professionally, it is necessary that you have a first aid kit with you in all your fishing trips.

Your fishing trip first aid kit should definitely include the following:

– An ammonia stick

– One antihistamine cream

– One cortisone cream

– 1 bottle of  wound cleansing fluid

– 1 bottle of Iodine solution for external use – wound cleansing

– 1-2 boxes of sterile gauze (10 x 10 cm)

– 1 package of cotton wool

– 2 elastic bandages for immobilising a sprain or wrapping a wound over sterile gauze to prevent bleeding

– Self-adhesive tape (white plaster)

– 1 box of adhesive patches of various sizes and shapes (preferably waterproof)

– 1 bottle of good sunscreen for face and body (protection index > 15)

– 1 bottle of moisturizing cream for after sun exposure

– Insect repellent solution (now also available in spray form)

– Small scissors, tweezers, gloves

– 1 bottle of antiseptic solution

– Electrolyte replacement sachets in powder form (for dehydration)

– Bottles of sterile saline (5 ml each)

– Common painkillers

IMPORTANT: If you have any kind of chronic disease, make sure to speak with your doctor. That way he can advise you and tell you if there are any specific medicine you should have with you on your fishing trips.

Fishing at night

Fishing at night get be an exciting thing to do. Especially when it’s summer it almost feels as if the nighttime invites to you go fishing. However, the preparation that is needed for your fishing experience is a bit more than usual. In order to be safe while fishing at night you should watch out and keep some very important measures.

First of all, you should always have with you at least one proper night lantern, as well as a headlight that you should be wearing at all times. If you are fishing on a boat or a kayak, make sure to also use proper bow and stern lights. A light pole is another gadget that might come in handy, as well as reflective tape.

Then, it is also very important that you are wearing a life jacket or a neon-colored vest. Once again, if you are fishing on a boat or a kayak you should also have your personal floatation devices, preferably a throwable one.

Another important tip is for you to have a functional warning device as part of your First Aid and Safety Measures, such as a horn, as well as some visual distress signal, like flares. These can be used not only for your own safety, but for the safety of others too.

It is also required that you have with you a paddle, a proper and currently dated fire extinguisher and some sort of bailing device. You will also need to be sure and safe when navigating, hence a GPS or compass -or even better, both- can be much needed. Make sure you always know how to use navigation systems like the one listed above, before your fishing trip.

Final thoughts

It is extremely important for you to be able to communicate and be safe in case any accident happens. So, you should at first inform someone about your plans to go fishing at night, where your location will be and what time you plan on coming back.

Other than that, getting yourself some company by inviting a fellow fisherman or a buddy to fish at night with you, can make your experience safer and way more fun. It would be very helpful to learn how to use a marine VHF radio, and use it when you’re fishing at night, especially if you are alone.

That’s it! It might have been a long read for our fans out there…. However, you now know all about how to keep yourself and your health safe when you go fishing. Remember, you should always take care of yourself, and you should always take your safety measures!! Be safe & have fun fishing!

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