Make sure to wear life jacket on cold water


Seeing people out in watercraft is not unusual in November and December. Some will be getting in their final fishing days for the year while others will be out with their dogs and guns hoping to bag some ducks.

Ardent outdoor types try and enjoy their favorite past-time no matter the weather. That’s why it’s important they wear a life jacket.

Such a measure is not required to be worn in Ohio, but this safety equipment must be on board. I like the Pennsylvania law that requires boaters to wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket at all times from Nov. 1-April 30 while underway or at anchor on boats less than 16 feet in length or on any kayak, canoe or paddleboard.

While I don’t always wear my life jacket during the hot summer days, I wear it during the early spring and late autumn months when I’m on the water. It makes sense to do so.

Water temperatures drop rapidly later in the fall and while air temperatures sometimes feel comfortable the water can be cold enough to put boaters at risk for sudden cold-water immersion. A life jacket can keep your head above water until help arrives.

Sudden cold-water immersion, or cold-water shock, occurs when a person is unexpectedly plunged into cold water below 70 degrees resulting in an involuntary gasp where water is often inhaled. This uncontrollable reaction causes panic, hyperventilation, inhalation of water and inhibits the ability of a person to swim.

There are a number of cold water survival tips one can follow, but first and foremost is wearing a life jacket.

Pre trip precautions should include dressing appropriately. Wear clothing that continues to insulate when wet, such as fleece, polypropylene, or other synthetics. Become familiar with the waters you plan to boat in advance of your trip. Bring a fully charged cell phone with you in case of emergency and store in a waterproof bag or container.

Follow these tips if you should happen to fall overboard:

• If you are about to fall into cold water, cover your mouth and nose with your hands to reduce the likelihood of inhaling water.

• If possible, stay with the boat. Get back into or climb on top of the boat.

• While in cold water, do not remove your clothing.

• If you cannot get out of the water, and you are wearing a life jacket, get into the Heat Escape Lessening Posture (HELP). In this position, individuals bring their knees to their chest and hug them with their arms.

Once out of the water, remove wet clothes and warm up as soon as possible.

Seek medical attention when necessary. Err on the side of caution. Some effects of exposure to cold temperatures can be delayed.

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Major League Fishing has announced its schedule, rules, payouts and entry dates for the 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) presented by T-H Marine. A number of Lima area bass anglers fish this circuit in the Buckeye, Hoosier and Michigan divisions.

The complete 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League schedule, rules and payouts can be found at FLWFishing.com.

Anglers can register for the 2021 BFL season at FLWFishing.com or by calling (270) 252-1000, beginning at 9 a.m. EDT. Local anglers can register for the Hoosier tourneys Dec. 7. They may register for the Buckeye tourneys Dec. 9 and they may register for the Michigan tourneys Dec. 11.

The Buckeye Division tourneys are scheduled for May 15 on the Ohio River out of Tanners Creek, June 26 on Grand Lake St. Marys out of St. Marys, July 24 on Mosquito Lake out of Mosquito Lake State Park, Aug. 14 on the Ohio River out of Tanners Creek, Sept. 11-12 on Lake Erie out of Sandusky.

The Hoosier Division tourneys are scheduled for April 17 on Monroe Lake at the Cutright ramp, May 8 on Patoka Lake at the Newton Street south ramp, July 10 on Monroe Lake at the Cutright ramp, Aug. 7 on the Ohio River out of Rocky Point, Aug. 28-29 on the Ohio River out of Tanners Creek at the Lawrenceburg ramp.

The Michigan Division tourneys are scheduled for June 26 on Lake St. Clair out of the Harley Ensign boat launch, July 10 on Lake St. Clair out of the Harley Ensign boat launch, July 31 on the Detroit River out of the Elizabeth Park marina, Aug. 28 on the Detroit River out of the Elizabeth Park marina and Sept. 18-19 on the Detroit River out of the Elizabeth Park Marina.

The top 45 pros and co-anglers in the Hoosier Division will fish a regional Oct. 7-9 on Wheeler Lake in Decatur, Alabama. The top 45 pro and co-anglers in the Buckeye and Michigan division will fish a regional on the Potomac River out of Marbury, Maryland.

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Typically held during January, the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s (CMP) Camp Perry Open indoor air gun match at the Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center in Port Clinton has been moved to warmer times, now scheduled for May 21-23, 2021.

Due to social distancing protocols, the match is subject to limited capacity and other restrictions that presented difficulties in hosting the event in colder temperatures – leading to the CMP’s decision to postpone the match to the spring and better outdoor conditions. As the country’s situation continues to evolve, more details on procedures and match changes will be released as necessary.

To register and for more info on the Camp Perry Open, visit thecmp.org/cmp-matches/camp-perry-open/

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Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at flyfishman7@hotmail.com and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at flyfishman7@hotmail.com and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

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