Transport Canada has prepared detailed information on marine safety. It is recommended that all 2017 Bamfield Tuna Shootout participants review this information.
In addition, the Sport Fishing Advisory Board has prepared the following safety guidelines for recreational tuna fishers:
As with all fisheries, safety should always be the number one priority for every angler! Considering the distances that recreational anglers travel offshore in pursuit of Tuna, special attention should be paid to the following:
Monitor the current weather conditions and forecast prior to leaving shore, and when you are at sea. Websites such as Environment Canada, Unisys and Windyty can provide some insight, but remember the accuracy of the information can vary. When on the grounds, the weather channel on your VHF radio can provide forecast and current condition data. If conditions deteriorate, have an exit plan agreed upon with your partner boats, and be prepared to leave.
Know your vessel’s safe weight capability; do not exceed that when loading gear, passengers and ice. While different vessels can have varying weight capacities, it is important to know what the safe limits of your craft are. To determine what the capacity of your vessel is, it is a good idea to complete a stability test. This can be done by a naval architect, or by using the Transport Canada’s Simplified Assessment of Intact Stability & Buoyancy of Small Non-Pleasure Vessels. In addition, the following guidelines will help to ensure everyone’s safety:
- Safely secure all items, particularly coolers to prevent load shifting.
- Be aware of free surface effect and its effect on stability.
- Store items as low as possible to lower center of gravity.
- Monitor Channel 72 and 16; a second back-up radio is a good idea.
- Carry 2 VHF radios with DSC capabilities and/or keep a waterproof VHF radio in your ditch bag.
- Contact other fishing vessels on channel 72 to notify them you are entering a fishing area. This helps to increase everyone’s situational awareness.
- Increase visibility by utilizing flags on masts and radar reflectors.
- Radar with proximity alarms and AIS is recommended, especially on overnight trips.
- Maintain multiple sources of navigation such as compass, GPS chart plotter, tablet or phone.
- Always keep an active wheel watch at all times – assign one driver.
- Allow at least half a mile of distance between vessels.
- Never cross in front of another vessel that is fishing.
Safety & Emergency Preparedness
In addition to the standard required equipment, the following is recommended:
- File a detailed sail plan with a responsible shore party prior to departure, and ensure you have an agreed upon check-in time and plan for notifying search authorities if overdue.
- Boats should travel together in groups of 2 or more and stay in constant contact using the buddy system for mutual safety and rescue.
- Carry and wear PFDs. Survival suits are advisable.
- Prepare a ditch bag that holds, at minimum, an EPIRB flare signal kit and extra flares, first aid kit, water, and waterproof flashlight.
- Conduct a pre-departure safety briefing to demonstrate all safety equipment, communication devices, and EPIRB operation.
- Ensure everyone knows how to safely navigate the vessel.
- Carry a life ring with a throw rope.
- Carry a tow rope, bridle and drone.
- Carry at least 2 ABC-rated fire extinguishers.
- Determine the distance you will cover prior to departure and ensure you carry enough fuel. Calculate by fuel burn, anticipated speed over the distance traveled and factor in that rough weather will cause an increase in fuel consumption.
- Plan for 1/3 fuel load for trip out plus distance covered fishing, 1/3 for return trip and 1/3 for reserve.
- Carry spare water-separating fuel filters.
Using a checklist, ensure that all systems on your vessel are in good operating condition prior to departure. Carry spare parts and be prepared for mechanical breakdowns. Having more than one source of propulsion is advisable.