As August is ending and September approaches, summertime temps are in full swing across the country. While some decide to fish at night or just stay indoors, there are ones who will brave the heat chasing their dream in the fishing world. Without proper preparation, a situation in a boat or kayak can became dangerous very fast. Many people preach safety while boating or fishing. To me, this absolutely falls into the safety category. Proper hydration is key during this time of year. There are also many types of apparel on the market these days to help prevent sun damage to skin and help keep you cool. I'll touch on that later.
Dehydration can happen quickly when dealing with extreme temperatures and can also lead to heat exhaustion and ultimately heat stroke. The effects of all of these can lead to a dangerous situation on the water for not only you, but others too. Staying hydrated is a necessity. In many cases by the time someone starts to feel the effects of the heat and start to take in fluids, they are already dehydrated. One thing I always do is to start drinking water the night before to stay ahead of it. Sports drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade can help replace electrolytes but they contain sugars which the body must break down. Your body will process water to rehydrate faster than any sports drink. Other drinks to avoid while dealing with the heat or carbonated drinks and alcohol. Both of these will accelerate the dehydration process. Not sweating is an easy sign of dehydration. If you feel weak or dizzy, stop fishing. Safely find a shady spot if possible and get fluids in your body. Trust me, no ones wants to be in a situation of confusion or being disoriented while on the water. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can cause this. Drink lots of fluids and stay ahead of these things.
Back to the apparel part. There are many options to keep yourself protected from the sun other than sunscreens. Lightweight shirts and shorts/pants with spf ratings. Buffs to cover your neck and face. Even gloves for your hands. I prefer to cover up than to use sunscreens. Try different options and use what you prefer. Just stay protected. Sunburn isnt fun. Too much expore to sun also increases your risk of skin cancer. While many skin cancers are "curable" the risk is there and the proper preparation should be taken.
We all love the sport of fishing. Please don't be the "superhero" and think you'll be fine. Do not let your fishing partner be that way either. Make sure they are staying hydrated and protected also. For your safety and the safety of others. Stay hydrated. Stay protected. If you are fishing near someone and can see that something "just isnt right" check on them. They may be suffering from the effects of heat exposure. Tight lines!
Written by Michael Martin