By Craig Robbins
Here in our part of the world, people are asking when did winter end and spring begin? Anglers and boaters are taking advantage of the unusually warm weather, but some may be forgetting that cold waters still lurk beneath the keel. Here are three easy safety tips that will help you get safely through the spring fishing and boating season.
Don't allow the warm weather to let your guard down. The air temperatures may be downright balmy, but deceptively cold waters increase the risk of hypothermia even on a T-shirt day. Also, remember there are fewer boats out on the water that could come to your aid. Bring extra layers or a change of clothes and rain gear at this time of year.
If you accidentally went overboard, do you have a way to get back aboard? You may be surprised how hard this can be - especially if you are alone or haven't prepared for it. It could be as simple as having a rope with looped foot holds affixed to a cleat that can easily be grabbed from the water.
Refresh your memory. Take a boating safety course now from the comfort of your own home. The no-cost BoatUS Foundation online boating safety course, which is designed so that you can stop and then continue at any time, includes videos that demonstrate important safety devices such as flares, shows the rules of the road, how to get help in an emergency, and the best way to fit a lifejacket to a child.
I recently received an email from an old friend that asked me to remind boaters of a few basic boating rules.
Its often said that there is no speed limit on Chautauqua Lake, but that is not entirely true. We have the 200-foot rule on Chautauqua Lake.
Basically it says no vessel shall travel at a speed greater that 5 miles per hour, nor shall they make a wake, whenever they are within 200 feet of shore, an anchored or moored vessel, a dock or a fixed object such as a buoy or bridge piling, a red and white divers flag or a vessel engaged in trolling.
Any vessel within the area known as the narrows in Bemus Point from the ferry crossing to the bridge must also abide by the 5 mile per hour no-wake rule. The same rule applies to the outlet from Celoron to the City of Jamestown.
As always make sure you know and understand all the laws for any bodies of water you plan on fishing.