3 Important Ways to Stay Safe While Fishing With Kids
By Kate Gardner
Despite the fact that none of my children care to eat fish (even in stick form), this weekend they are packing up and going on an epic fishing adventure with their dad and grandfather. I'm all for it: I get some alone time and my kids get quality time with their dad. If, like our family, you're heading to the water with kids to catch some fish, keep in mind these tips from TakeMeFishing.org to make sure everyone stays safe while they're having fun!
Sun protection - At least 15 minutes before you head out to fish, slather on that sunscreen -- SPF 30 or higher -- and reapply every two hours or after swimming to keep kids safe from sun damage. Hats and long-sleeved shirts are a great way to provide protection from the sun, too. And remember to grab your sunglasses! We often forget that our eyes need to be protected from the sun, just like our skin. Furthermore, sunglasses can make it easier for kids to see what they're doing while out on the water.
Boat and water safety - Playing in and around the water is so much fun, but it's important to stay safe while doing so. Even kids (and grown-ups) who can swim well should wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFDs (personal flotation devices) when in boats. You may also want to have your kids wear them when fishing off docks into deep water. Let your kids know what the rules are when fishing (like no running on a wet dock and no rough-housing in a boat).
Take Me Fishing recommends bringing a float and line (to throw out for someone who has fallen overboard), a whistle (to communicate quickly and loudly), and a first aid kit. Additionally, as the adult, it's your job to know what boating and fishing laws are in your state.
Fishing safety - Fishing is a lot more fun for kids when their gear is the right size for them! Many stores carry fishing rods of different sizes for kids who aren't ready for adult-sized rods yet. My youngest kid even has a rod decorated with a certain ice-wielding Disney princess. As well, smaller kids may not be ready to use barbed hooks when fishing. Barbless hooks are an alternative, or barbs can be bent down to make kids less likely to hook something other than a fish. One of my children hooked my shirt last year, so I highly recommend addressing this issue.
Remember these tips the next time you head out to the water to stay safe and have fun!
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