We all love throwing out a line on the weekend, but unless you’ve recently attended a first aid course, you could probably do with a refresher of what action to take in an emergency.


So, what are the risks?

There are many potential risks and hazards involved with the humble sport of fishing. You’ve most likely heard of most of these at some point, but here’s a refresher anyways!

  • Slipping Overboard
  • Hook in the finger
  • Cuts/wounds caused by knife
  • Severe sunburn/heat stroke
  • Powerless boat or being stranded
  • Hypothermia
  • Boat collision
  • Dehydration
  • Poisoning from aquatic life


Let’s take a look how you can protect yourself from getting in danger the next time you decide to drop a line.

Slipping Overboard

If one of your crew has ever slipped into the drink and started yelling MAN OVERBOARD, you’ll know that that’s exactly what you should be yelling while switching off your engine. The next step is to locate the person by pointing at them and keeping as much eye contact as possible. Grab your flotation device (preferably with rope attached) and throw it to your mate in the water, maybe spend a minute or two cracking a few jokes about them falling overboard, and hoist them back onto the boat.

If the person is wounded severely, call emergency services asap!


Hook in the finger

A hook in the finger is never pretty, but it happens to the best of us. The first step in this situation is to reduce the bleeding, give it a wash out with water (preferably fresh) and then dry the area. Then remove the hook by grabbing the top of the hook and slowly pulling it out of the finger, hopefully you’re not too queasy! Depending on how deep you caught yourself, you may need to wrap it in a bandage, or an old rag if you’re supplies are limited.


Cuts/wounds caused by knife

A sliced hand is basically a rite of passage for any fisherman. You need a knife on hand for everything fishing related; chopping bait, cutting line or gutting a fish, and you’re trying to use it on a swaying boat.  You’re destined to have a little mishap at some point.

Firstly, you need to reduce the bleeding, use a clean rag or cloth and compress the area. Once bleeding stops, give the area a good wash and then bandage it up.

If you really did a number on yourself, compress the wound heavily and seek medical attention.


Severe sunburn/heat stroke

Try and cover your skin to reduce further sunburn and drink plenty of water. If suffering from heatstroke, drink extra water, rest, and keep out of the sun where possible!


Powerless boat or being stranded

Attempt to start the engine. If that fails and you’re having engine troubles, give the coast guard or water police a call and let them know of your whereabouts.



To combat Hypothermia, it is important to get heat back into the person’s body by giving them as dry clothes and warmth. Equip your tackle box or boat with an emergency blanket so you’re prepared, just incase.


Boat collision

This might seem unlikely but it happens. Immediately turn off engine, check to see if there is any flooding and then contact either the coast guard or water police (and maybe your insurance company).



The best way to fight dehydration is by passing on the next round of beers and opting for water.


Poisoning from aquatic life

The best method of combatting a bite is keeping the person still and calm and reassure them you’re in control to avoid any unnecessary panic. You’ll want to seek medical assistance as soon as possible.


First Aid Essentials

Make sure you’ve got the essentials covered for your next day on the water. If you are going to invest in any piece of equipment before your next fishing trip it would have to be the First Aid Kit, especially if you plan on going anywhere isolated.

During the warmer months don’t forget to bring plenty of water and wear a long sleeve shirt, hat and give yourself a good covering of sunscreen. Make sure you bring your mobile phone (fully charged!) and a list of important contact numbers, including the local coast guard. Now with all the important information out of the way… It’s time to head out and enjoy.


Happy Fishing!