July 13, 2021
MCHD encourages anglers to be careful this weekend during Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo
MOBILE, Ala. — The Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) would like to welcome all the anglers and their families who are participating in the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo this weekend. A project of the Mobile Jaycees since 1929, the 88th annual tournament traditionally attracts more than 3,500 anglers to Dauphin Island.
With so many fishing boats out this weekend, it is good to go over some points to make sure everyone is safe during these water activities. Anglers must also be aware of the threat of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports about 10 people die from unintentional drowning every day. Drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death for people of all ages, and the second leading cause of injury death for children ages 1 to 14 years. In fact, more children ages 1 to 4 years die from drowning than any other cause of death except birth defects.
Here are some safety tips that MCHD encourages everyone to follow this summer:
Life jackets – Statistics show that drowning is the single biggest cause of death in recreational boating accidents, accounting for 76 percent of fatalities. The great majority of these drownings were precipitated by unexpected entry into the water, which means the victim had no time to grab a life jacket before entering the water. The data shows 84.5 percent of drowning victims were NOT wearing life jackets when found.
“Wearing a lifejacket or personal flotation device will save your life,” said Lt. Cmdr. Chris J. Miller, Command Center Chief with U.S. Coast Guard Sector Mobile. “Not only is it paramount to wear a lifejacket, but if you are going to be on the water you should take the time to develop a float plan starting with reviewing the weather forecast, ensuring that all safety equipment on your boat is in proper working order, and socializing your route with a family member or friend so they know when you plan to return.”
Every boat operated on Alabama’s waterways is required to carry one Coast Guard-approved Type I, II, III, or V life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD) for each person on board or being towed by the boat. If Type V is used, it must be approved for the activity at hand. More details can be found at www.uscgboating.org/recreational-boaters/life-jacket-wear-wearing-your-life-jacket.php.
All life jackets and PFDs must be in good and serviceable condition, be readily accessible and be of the proper size for the intended wearer. Sizing for life jackets/PFDs is based on body weight and chest size. In Alabama, passengers under 8 years of age are required to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket while onboard any boat (unless they are in an enclosed cabin).
Float plan – Why should you take the time to prepare a float plan? There are just too many facts that need to be accurately remembered and ultimately conveyed in an emergency situation. Without a float plan, you are counting on someone else, a friend, neighbor, or family member to remember detailed information that rescue personnel needs in order to find you. For convenience, the float plan can be left on the dash of the vehicle located at the launch site. A sample document can be found at http://floatplancentral.cgaux.org/
Swimmer in distress – You can help someone who is having trouble in the water without getting wet. This is important because you also need to stay safe. Going into the water to help someone who is having trouble could cause you to get in trouble. So remember: “Reach or Throw, Don’t Go” (www.redcross.org/ content/dam/redcross/atg/PDFs/Take_a_Class/Reach_or_throw_dont_ go.pdf). When helping someone in the water it is always best to reach or throw, do not go. Use any object that extends your reach, such as a pole, empty picnic cooler, paddle, ring buoy, or a belt.
COVID-19 – Even for those who have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine, these measures can help keep you as safe as possible during these times:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Remember to cover your cough or sneeze.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Wear a cloth face covering when you go out in public and are in the presence of someone from another household.
Other issues to remember – Sometimes problems arrive while on a boat, and you are either out of cellphone range or your marine radio is inoperable. If possible, share your situation and location with another boater who can relay the information to family members or emergency personnel.
Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool down and can make you dehydrated. If you must go outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes prior to going out. Continue to reapply it according to the package directions.
Avoiding dehydration is vital to dealing with hot weather. Drink more fluids (especially water), regardless of how active you are. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink. Stay away from very sugary or alcoholic drinks, as these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks because they can cause stomach cramps.