We are lucky enough to spend a lot of time around rivers, lakes and oceans, and quite often it’s usually in a boat. Anglers naturally “dabble” in all things water. From canoes on lakes, to driftboats on rivers to deep water fishing for halibut and rock fish, anglers spend lots of time on the water. That being said, sometimes wearing a life jacket doesn’t cross your mind. Thankfully times have changed.
Nowadays, If you’re on a boat, you should have a life jacket on. And we won’t take no for an answer. That’s just the way it is. Being in a profession where client and staff safety is huge, it is obvious that a life jacket is worth its weight in gold and that they must be used at all times while boating.
Life jackets fully save lives period. No matter the situation, or how much experience you have, or how good of a swimmer you think you are a life jacket will save your life. A little discomfort and annoyance is a small price to pay for a life saver. One time on the Arolik River, in western Alaska, a client step off a shelf in the river and ended up going for a serious swim. Fortunately, the guide hardly ever takes his life jacket off, even while having my anglers out of the boat. By having the life jacket on that day, the guide saved the client from drowning. The guide just jump in after him, and made contact, settled him down and they were able to safely float out to the bottom of the run where the river was shallow enough to touch bottom. If the guide would have had to run for the boat and chase this the client down, chances are he would have gone under. And if you’re wondering, yes, the guide did give him more than one warning about the sketchy shelf the client was standing on, that would send him for a swim if he walked too far out!!
Not trying to preach, just trying to show the path to anyone who’ll listen. The path is to be long and filled with glorious memories of days spent doing what we love. Fishing!