Fishing and Boating Safety

Did you know that June is National Safety Awareness month? With so much outdoor and recreational activity starting up, we thought we would center our Empower blogs this month around safety tips for some of your favorite summertime activities. 

To start, who doesn’t love fishing and boating? And, it just so happens that this week is National Fishing and Boating Week. With our attention being drawn to the water as the weather warms up, below are some important tips surrounding fishing and boating in Ohio. 

Fishing 101

The anticipation of that first bite is an exciting experience we often enjoy sharing with friends and family. Anyone can do it! But, like any activity, certain safety measures should be followed to ensure all participating can relax and have fun!

  • Always be careful handling fishing tackle. Many lures have long sharp hooks to prevent your catch from dining and dashing. However, those barbed ends can find themselves stuck in clothing and skin if you're not careful.
  • Always be aware of your surrounding before making a cast. Whether you're in an open area onshore or in the confines of a small boat, unsuspecting individuals nearby might find themselves at the end of your line.
  • Don't leave equipment on the ground, even for just a moment. Someone may trip and fall on it, or step on a hook.
  • Always make sure to remove hooks and lures from your line and store them in the tackle box when packing up your equipment.
  • Always tell someone where you are planning on going, whether you are fishing onshore or on the lake. If you are going out in a boat, complete a USCG Float Plan before your trip and leave it with a reliable person who can be depended upon to notify the Coast Guard, or other rescue agency, should you not return or check-in as planned.

Before grabbing your fishing pole and shiners, do you know the basic rules and regulations for fishing in Ohio? Below is a snapshot of the most important, however, you can view the entire 2019/2020 Ohio Fishing Regulations here

  • Individuals under 16 do not need a fishing license. 
  • Those over 16 will need to purchase a fishing license from an authorized agent. You can find a list of locations here:
  • A fishing license is required to take fish from Ohio waters. 
  • A fishing license is required to take frogs or turtles on public and private property. 
  • Persons fishing in privately owned ponds, lakes, or reservoirs that are open to public fishing through an agreement or lease with the ODNR Division of Wildlife are required to have a fishing license. 
  • Persons must have their license in their possession while fishing and must show the license to anyone on request. Licenses can be displayed using a mobile device. 
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty stationed in Ohio, but not on leave or furlough, are required to purchase a resident license.

Boating and Life Jacket Safety 

Another, highly popular, summertime activity is boating. Whether it’s on the lake, a pond, or river, there is something special about being out on the water. That being said, there is a lot that can go wrong. One simple thing you, your friends, and family can do while on the water is to wear a life jacket. Ya, ya, it doesn’t look cool, but it is the law in Ohio – and it could save a life in a dangerous situation. Below are some important things you should know about life jackets, and being safe on the water. 

  • Ohio law REQUIRES life jackets to be worn
    • while riding a personal watercraft (PWC or jet ski).
    • while waterskiing or being towed on a similar device.
    • by children less than 10 years of age on any vessel less than 18 feet in length.

There are three basic kinds of flotation used in life jackets, inherently buoyant (foam), inflatable, and hybrid (foam and inflatable). Each type comes with its pros and cons. For example, an inflatable life jacket should only be used by adults. Whereas a foam life jacket is recommended for anyone (infant, youth, child, and adult). Whichever one you choose, the jacket must meet these U.S. Coast Guard requirements

  • Life jackets must have a "U.S. Coast Guard Approved" label with approval number listed.
  • Boats less than 16 feet in length (including canoes and kayaks of any length) must be equipped with wearable PFDs for each person on board.
  • Each PFD must be the appropriate size for the person who wears it. Size, weight ranges, and recommended uses are listed on the label.
  • All straps, buckles, zippers, and stitching on a life jacket must be intact and the fabric should be in good condition.
  • Life jackets must be readily accessible to occupants of a boat. They should NOT be stored in sealed packages or in a locked or closed storage area.

If you are unsure of what life jacket you should buy, the U.S Coast Guard has a helpful “how-to choose” brochure available. 

Some other important things to keep in mind while on a boat or water vessel is to make sure you have safety supplies on board. This could mean a first aid kit with a tourniquet, a waterproof flashlight, a whistle or fog horn, a compass, and a fire extinguisher. Also, always check the weather before you go. We all know the lake go from being quiet and calm one moment to angry with a shift of the wind. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website is a great resource for getting wind and wave forecasts. 


Most importantly, you should not be operating a water vessel if you have never done so before. It is advised that you take a boating class, just like when you learned to drive a car. There are different rules that apply to drive a boat, like understanding what buoys and other nautical navigational aids mean. 

Just in case, Firelands offers Urgent Care 

Firelands offers two convenient urgent care locations in Sandusky and Clyde. If you have a non-emergent illness or injury, visit one of these locations – no appointment is needed. Some examples of what can be treated at our urgent cares are:

Asthma and wheezing

Cold and flu symptoms

Ear and eye infections

Insect bites, poison ivy, and skin conditions

Minor lacerations

Onsite X-rays

Physicals, including sports physicals

Respiratory infections

Sports injuries

Sprains and strains

Urinary tract infections

Lab and drug testing

Visit for more information.