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Bad Weather Can Spoil More Than Your Daily Catch

Storms can cause all kinds of danger on the water, experts warn

(HealthDay is the new name for HealthScoutNews.)

MONDAY, Sept. 1, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Even the most experienced anglers can be caught off guard by a sudden storm, and you don't have to be out on the high seas to be in danger when it happens.

That light breeze that makes an otherwise hot day perfect for fishing may in fact be a harbinger of stronger winds that can cause rough waters and capsize boats large or small.

And if the strong winds are accompanied by a storm, boaters are at further risk of lightning strikes and torrential rains that can impede visibility, according to the National Weather Service.

Even in calm waters, fog can be a risk for boaters, obscuring their ability to see other boats -- and impeding others from seeing them.

Those engaged in fishing activities, in fact, account for about a third of all fatalities among recreational boaters, according to the Safe Boating Council.

But there are a number of precautions you can take to avoid danger.

First of all, start listening to weather forecasts several days in advance of your fishing venture, paying special attention to small craft advisories or storm warnings.

When you're on the water, watch for signs of approaching storms. These include an increase in wind speed or change in wind direction, approaching dark clouds and even severe static on your AM radio.

If you find yourself caught in a storm, put on your floatation device and try to get to shore as soon as possible, warns the National Weather Service. If there is lightning, don't touch metal objects that are not grounded to the boat's protection system.

More information

Here are some more safe boating tips from the National Weather Service.

SOURCES: National Weather Service; Safe Boating Council
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