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An Introduction and guide to Boat Fishing

Updated: Sep 16, 2021

There is a large variety of fishing styles that can be done from a boat. Such as various freshwater and saltwater fishing. Some fishing styles require a boat to access certain species. A saltwater boat is needed for wreck fishing, oil rig fishing and any other deepwater fishing. In today’s article, we will cover a generic overall view of etiquette, safety and maintenance when fishing from a boat.

fishing boat out at sea
Fishing Boat

Boat Etiquette

Etiquette is essential when fishing from a boat. The main reason for this is to show respect to others. Having the correct boat etiquette will help avoid conflict.

● When overtaking others make sure to remain responsible at all times. If the scenario you are inputs, anyone, in harm’s way, slow down and let the other pass because the first job of any captain is to avoid a collision regardless of who has the right-of-way.

● If you are placed in the situation where two boats are coming head-on. Make sure both vessels turn to starboard and passport to port. This way, there’s no guessing about the other captain’s intentions and an accident is avoided.

● Whenever a sailboat is passing it always has the right of way. Although, if a sailboat has an engine running then it is considered a powerboat. Even if the powerboat has sailed up it is not entitled to the right of way.

● When fishing ensure your trolling line does not cross other boats. This can result in a large entanglement.

● If a vessel approaches you from the right, they’re the stand-on vessel.

● Any man-powered vessels such as a kayak, SUPs, canoes, have the right-of-way over any other vessel including a sailboat.

● When fishing is aware of other fishermen. Generally, it is polite to not fish in the same spot as other fishermen.

● If a boat/ship is restricted in its ability to manoeuvre (due to its size, draft or any other reason) it’s the stand-on vessel and you should accommodate it.

● A boat should always watch the wake they are creating. While the wake could be fun for wakeboarders, other boaters may find it annoying. If it gets too bad, it can even become dangerous. A speeding vessel may cause a wake capable of damaging another boat or causing injury to a person. When it comes to boating etiquette, all boaters should be aware of their wake. ‘No wake zones are areas that the boat must move as slow as possible.

Safety On Boats

There is a large number of safety precautions surrounding boat fishing. Hooks, rope, anchors can all provide massive hazards when out on a boat.

The No.1 rule is to wear a life jacket at all times. Large bodies of water can become perilous in a matter of moments. Life jackets will help you to be prepared for the worst at all times. If you do not feel comfortable wearing a lifejacket when fishing it is recommended to purchase a floating device that can be blown up quick in emergencies. Keep this on you at all times. It is recommended to follow a Pre-Departure Checklist.

This will help ensure the proper gear is onboard. You do not want to leave for a seven-hour fishing trip to forget a sat Nav or rod. Make sure to be aware of the weather at all times. Always check local, route and destination weather and water conditions before departure and ensure it is safe to go out.

Operating at a safe speed at all times will help prevent any accidents. When lowering an anchor at your fishing spot make sure the rope is not around your leg. Stay clear of large vessels and watercraft that can be restricted in their ability to stop or turn. Always maintain a proper lookout, be respectful of others while looking out for buoys, nets etc. Generally, unless you are extremely experienced it is advised o have more than one person on deck at all times. This will help in emergencies and for lookout. Avoid Alcohol on the water, operating a boat while intoxicated is illegal. Nearly half of all boating accidents involve alcohol—designate a sober skipper before leaving the dock. Be Aware of Carbon Monoxide, Maintain fresh air circulation throughout the boat. Educate all passengers about the symptoms of CO poisoning and where CO may accumulate.


Having the correct gear is always essential when going out on a boat. Both fishing gear and safety gear will be needed. It is best to have a fire extinguiisher on your boat at all times. Items to consider are life jackets, sonars, grps, anchors, oars etc.

Depending on the style of fishing your doing your fishing gear will be customized to it. A simple sea fishing setup for a boat is a lightweight slow action rod with mackerel feathers and a four oz weight. These are great for catching mackerel and other small bait fish such as pollock. You can use these fish to catch larger fish from your boat.

Boat Maintenance

Boats are not much harder to maintain than your average land vehicle; however, they have many specific needs that most users aren't aware of.

The essential equipment and products you’ll need:

● Soft bristle brush

● Dry rag

● Phosphate free washing liquid

● Fibreglass polish

● Boat wax

You can higher someone to clean your boat or do it yourself using the following steps:

1) Tap the waterline of the boat so as not to get any products on the underside

2) Give your boat a good hose down with fresh water and then apply the boat wash liberally using a soft bristle brush.

3) Rinse the boat down again so as to get rid of any soapsuds that may be left on.

4) Using a dry cloth, apply an even layer of boat polish.

We hope you have enjoyed todays article on boat fishing. We have covered the basic minimum requirements of boat fishing; correct etiquette, safety, equipment and maintenance.

By Daniel ONeill.

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