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Boating alone

Old 12-26-2009, 10:06 AM
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Question Boating alone

Once in awhile I go out alone to do some trolling or cruising.
It's nice to get out and have some quiet time away from whatever.
I am out of sight of other boats 99% of the time and at least 5 or 6 miles from shore, so the shore wouldn't see me fall over.

As the lone person on board, what precautions would you take while underway, and especially while trolling to keep from going over, or if you did go over?
I have read some will drag a knotted line behind the boat, but that may interfere with trolling/catching. Maybe drag some 100# mono attached to the kill switches?

I already wear a Mustang auto-inflate vest with a Standard Horizon handheld VHF with DSC secured to my belt.
Old 12-26-2009, 10:12 AM
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When I lived in the keys, I would go upwards of 20-30 miles out by myself on nice days. As far as precautions, I would never leave the helm w/the motor running, not even at idle to set out lines. I usually keep my PFD's in a T-Bag, but when out alone, there was always one on a seat out in the open. Always had a float plan, may not have been detailed, but someone always knew where I was planning on being, when I was planning on coming home. And, same as you, always had a handheld VHF on my person at all times.

IMO - Nothing more relaxing than being in the middle of the ocean, alone, trolling for some Mahi. Just a fantastic way to spend a day
Old 12-26-2009, 10:31 AM
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Unless you have a kill switch, trolling alone is not the brightest idea - if you fall in, it will be a long swim to shore.
I assume you already wear an inflatable vest and a waterproof floating vhf, so all I would add is a means to get back in the boat.
Old 12-26-2009, 10:33 AM
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Yep, vest and DSC.
Maybe tie some line to the kill switch lanyard and then to my backside?
Old 12-26-2009, 10:48 AM
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Autotether. not very expensive
Old 12-26-2009, 10:52 AM
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After breaking all the safety rules alone for years, I recently purchased an autotether and started wearing an inflatable pfd 100% of the time. Stupid not doing this earlier. But glad I finally did it. I also added an EPIRB.
Old 12-26-2009, 11:32 AM
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I have fished alone for years. For most of those years I had nothing more than the short, springy lanyard of the kill switch and an auto inflatable PFD that I would wear all the time. Now, I have an Autotether for the kill switch, and a PLB with built-in GPS I wear on my belt in addition to the auto inflatable PFD.
Old 12-26-2009, 11:36 AM
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autotether and inflatable.
Old 12-26-2009, 11:37 AM
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I guess trolling is a different challenge, why not make a kill switch that is long enough to allow you to walk around the boat. To leave your wheel with the boat in gear and no kill switch attached is dangerous and you should never be dumb enough to stand on the gunnels or climb a tower. There is also a remote controll kill switch that kills the engines once it goes out of range. If you have one of those you should not have any worries.
Old 12-26-2009, 11:45 AM
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and i won't do anything alone that's "not too smart" such as anchoring up (have to access the foredeck), or getting up on a gunwale or outside of the cockpit (unnecessary messing around with the o/b's). ron
Old 12-26-2009, 11:47 AM
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If you have ever witnessed someone fall off a boat in the ocean.....something to keep in mind....a boat can easily drift faster than a person could swim. I am glad I was not him trying to chase a boat in the middle of a shark chum slick.

I like that idea of dragging a knotted rope behind the boat, but yes I can see how that interferes with fishing. I think maybe a short rope would help a lot, if you went in and caught up to the boat on a drift, at least you would have something to grab onto, gather your strength and climb on up and back in. The rope needs to be long enough though so you could time the waves...a boat can rock violently enough to hurt you pretty bad.

But the idea of falling in alone on the drift is why I don't use auto-inflate vests. You can't swim worth anything with an inflated jacket. For this reason, I like the manual inflate vests better...there if you need it but won't impede swimming if that is what you need to do first.

Just a bad thing to go overboard. If it happens, it will always happen under bad circumstances.

This is a good thread, will get us thinking about ideas and options.
Old 12-26-2009, 12:09 PM
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The auto-capable vest can be double-edged.
In auto, help you if you become incapacitated, but hinder you during a swim.
I have slim chances of either, but think there is less chance of hitting head AND going overboard.
I think I will ensure the auto-inflate is disabled.
Also, a knotted rope with a cone float on the end so I know where it is.
Old 12-26-2009, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by jcwiza View Post
After breaking all the safety rules alone for years, I recently purchased an autotether and started wearing an inflatable pfd 100% of the time. Stupid not doing this earlier. But glad I finally did it. I also added an EPIRB.
Same here.

My days of perceived immortality are over. They began waning just after my kids were born. I wonder if there's a connection.

Nice thread Steve.

Last edited by Pro251wa; 12-26-2009 at 12:54 PM.
Old 12-26-2009, 12:29 PM
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What exactly is an autotether? Is it the same as a basic kill switch?
Old 12-26-2009, 12:32 PM
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Good stuff in this thread.
Old 12-26-2009, 12:38 PM
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Did you ever see the move Open Water 2? For me it was probably the scariest - because it can so easily happen. basically, people go swimming off the boat in the middle of nowhere and forget to put the ladder out and can't get back up on the boat.
Make sure that IF you wind up in the water, and are lucky enough that the boat isn't driving away from you, can you get back into it?
Old 12-26-2009, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by bstnsportsfan View Post
What exactly is an autotether? Is it the same as a basic kill switch?

http://www.autotether.com/home.cfm?C...TOKEN=94257646
Old 12-26-2009, 01:20 PM
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Only one thing really works

Tie yourself to the centre of the deck of your boat so that you can not fall over . . . I have a $100 unit from West marine for sailors . . . it has a bungee type section so that there is a little give

Do like I did . . . swallow your pride and tie yourself so that you do not fall out of your boat . . . no pride in drowning . . . lots of pride in catching fish ALONE and getting back to the docks SAFE . . . ask your kids

You attach it to a central point on the deck so that you can reach the corners and the helm


Even if you are fully dressed . . . even if catch up to your boat which you likely will not do if there is any wind . . . do you have a boarding ladder . . . can you pull yourself into the boat fully dressed and soaking wet and tired chasing your boat


PS I often used to fish offshore with my 34er and it was the best . . .
Old 12-26-2009, 01:23 PM
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I boat alone 90% of the time and bought and autotether and I wear an inflatable life vest. I'm also buying a PLB (personal locator beacon) this year. I don't plan to fall in but if for some reason I did, I'd like to come back.
Old 12-26-2009, 01:26 PM
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Here are is a pic of a double that I landed while fishing alone



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