Safety First. While fishing can be very fun and enjoyable, it can also be dangerous. If you're careful, the rewards will far outweigh the risk, so safety is a basic fundamental. One universal component of fishing is the fish hook. Hooks were designed to easily pierce any soft object and hold on. We prefer that they penetrate the mouth of the fish, but they can also grab clothing, nets, dock line and you if you're not careful. The more hooks you have, the greater the danger. Be careful, most hooking accidents happen when casting or when a hook has not been secured before or after a catch. A fishermen also needs a sharp knife to cut bait or to clean the day's catch. When not using your knife it should always be stored in a safe place. A fish's teeth, fins and gill plates can also be very sharp, dead or alive. Know how to handle the species your targeting. It's good to consider the fishing rod as an extension of the fisherman, so leave plenty of room for casting so as not to put others in harms way. If you have young anglers with you keep a close eye on them. Teach them to be safe. An injury can ruin the day and spoil any future desires to fish. When preparing for your next fishing trip, be sure to include a First Aid Kit and know how to use it.
Fishing from a boat requires added safety since you are actually on the water. Know the rules of safe boating and watch the weather carefully. When you decide to fish from a boat in a large body of water make sure you give your float plans to someone so they will know where to start their search for you. Life jackets are a must. There are a variety of types available, some are more comfortable than others. Foam life jackets are the most reliable but tend to be bulky and will retain body heat. Suspender type life jackets are very light and comfortable. They inflate by means of a CO2 cartrige triggered either manually or automatically when an angler falls into the water.
In the event of an emergency you will need a means of communication so you can talk with other boaters, someone on land or the coast guard if necessary. Of course a cell phone is a must but a good back-up is a marine (VHF) radio, either handheld or permanently mounted. Get familiar with the rules of usage before you go on the water.