Big water/bad weather boating advice thread

ILPLATEBOAT

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Great thread guys. Alot of good info on big water. One of the things that i have said for a while now, is to not compensate boat size for knowledge. I know of guys and see it every year, where a guy buys a giant azz boat, to compensate for his skill of navigating the river in rough water. Like some have mentioned, I ALWAYS run my route in the summer time after a flood, and run it all summer long. The high water brings in new obstacles to navigate around, and uncovers logs, barges, etc. 100% of the time i use no spotlight going out in the morning. Guys ask me why i dont run a light, its because i can damn near run to all of my hunting spots with a blind fold on. Spend alot of time on the river, and know it well. Another HUGE one....Dont wait until opening day to see if your motor runs right, it WILL bite you in the *** every time!
 

duxsrus

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Another very sad lesson:

http://www.wlwt.com/news/26117279/detail.html

The wind was ripping here yesterday and I saw the Ohio River around the same time this occured and she was very very ANGRY. I was thinking to myself there's no way I would have wanted to be out on it. Then come home and learned of this.
 

dankoustas

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Redundency is the word that comes to my mind. Having more than just one of safety items:

bilge pump- one automatic, one that turns on manually, a hand pump and a detergent jug with the top cut out (doubles as a **** bucket)

communication- cel phone in a dry bag, ship to shore radio, gps beacon if you can afford it

battery- at least two on an A/B switch

You get the idea
 

JDOWEN

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It has been my experience that bad things in bad weather on bad water most often happen on the return trip when you are headed home. That may be because most hunters either don't go out when it is really bad or they wait until the conditions improve. When the hunt is over no one wants to spend the night on the water so there is a tendancy to try and put the square peg into the round hole and get home. We hunt out of a 18' with an insulated and fully enclosed blind with heaters extra propane and cook stove. We carry all of the earlier mentioned items along with extra food. Since we normally hunt in the lea and out of the strong wind, our rule is that come time to head home if the wind is to strong, we stay put. Button up the boat and spend the night if that is what it takes. Generally we have cell phone coverage so we just call home. Have multipal cell phones and have them fully charged when you head out to go hunting. I understand that this would not be a comfortable experience in an open boat, but still better than only getting half way home. Another item that search and rescue people see during the winter months in the upper midwest is ice build up in the bottoms of the boats that get into trouble. Many guys put floors in their duckboats and it is amazing just how much water gets into the boat just from the dog and your waders. It builds up under the floor and then freezes over night. After a few days of hunting with freezing nights you can have an excessive amount of weight in your boat that you don't even see. Suddenly your boat is over loaded and "heavy" in the water. In cold weather especially, pull your drain plug and get the water out at the end of every hunt. Replace the plug after draining the water or you may have to fight to get it back in the next morning when everything is again frozen. Stay safe.
 

eze

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I run a 14' deep V with a 25 horse merc here in MN.... I run some deep and shallow big waters. I have been out on days that I've had to fight 3 foot rollers and white caps comming the 3 miles back to the launch.

1.) Run your duck boat in the summer when the weather is bad and rough to get the feel of things...

2.) Test your waders; how they act when your in over your head. Then ad you life jacket...

3.) Is your life jacket bouyent enough for you and all your wet cloths and waders...

4.) First aid kits (and know how to use them), extra clothing, and ziplock bags for your cell phones incase you do take a dump.

5.) Here's a big one; that I bet 99% have never practiced. In deeper water(can't touch bottom) with your waders on and say a light hunting jacket; try to get back into the boat...


Dont ya think a 14' boat is a lil small for 3 miles out in 3 foot rollers? You wouldnt catch me dead in a 14' boat anywhere that I couldnt stand up and walk to the bank.
 

Traxion

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Lots of good stuff. To me, #1 is have the proper boat for the waters you will be hunting on. I've seen enough people with loaded down duck hunting boats in nasty weather that I wouldn't feel comfortable taking out in the summer unloaded. Big water, big boats. There is no forgiveness during hunting season- in many areas it could take a couple hours for rescue.
 

birdhunter007

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Great tips from everyone.
The a couple of things I might add...
Be prepared to spend the night. I hunt the Columbia River and it can get ugly fast. If you have the ability to ride out the storm (so to speak) it makes you less apt to try to run back through the storm. I always carry a small heater, extra fuel, extra coat, snacks and water. I also carry my cell in a ziplock in case of a dunking. Most areas I hunt have cell service.
 

rlsiv

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Good topic. Funny how I never really paid much attention to this stuff until my kids were old enough to go hunting with me. Once they were in the boat too, it seemed a little more important to be prepared. :reader


Lifevests. Wear them without exception, and insist everyone in your boat do the same.

Extra set of clothes in a sealed "dry bag". I have a couple of brands, all made for kayaking, etc.

Foil emergency blanket, firestarter, fuel cubes, sterno can, and wind-up radio with Weather-Band - also in the Dry Bag.

Machette/hatchet.

12ga flares - in a ziploc bag in the top of my tool-box. They are inexpensive and you fire them right out of your gun. Also fun to sneak one into your buddy's shotgun when he is out taking a leak. :l

Toolbox - with a few items specific to Your boat/motor, plus wire, extra boat plug, duct tape, etc.

Cell ph (in pelican case or zip-loc baggies).

Phone numbers (stored in cell phone) for the Coast Guard, County/City sheriff, Conservation Dept/Agent, and for your buddies that live closest to your hunting area. You never know who you might have to call when you get in a bind. We hunt several rivers including the Missouri and Mississippi, and I've taken to filling my phone with emergency contacts for the vicinity I'll be in.

Plan your hunt, then hunt your plan (paraphrase of scuba training). Let more than one person know where you're going, then follow that plan. If it changes for some reason, advise those two people beforehand/immediately.
 

itallushrt

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It can't be said enough .. WIND, WIND, WIND.

Wind = waves and different winds on different bodies of water create different circumstances.

I think the #1 thing that anyone needs to be aware of BEFORE getting on the water is weather. In this day and age there is no reason someone should be ignorant of the weather. Tracking weather is huge business and there are literally thousands of widely available and free methods of determining what is happening right now or in the near future where you are. Are 10 day forecast right and am I telling folks to follow them? Of course not, but predicting what the same days weather will be is generally VERY reliable. Especially in regards to wind direction and speed.

Know your body of water and know what certain winds will do to it. I hunt two HUGE bodies of water all the time. They both react 100% different to the same wind. Know what is going to occur doesn't mean you have to be out there to experience it either or that it only happens during duck season. On a day with higher winds drive to the boat ramp and observe what the water is doing. Make a note of X wind causes Y effect.

In the end it doesn't matter if you have 2 life vests on if you set yourself up for failure eventually you will. Learn what days to launch the boat and what days to not even leave the house or when to hunt a field or much smaller body of water.

The easiest way to prevent an accident is to make the right decisions from the beginning.
 

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