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Last Updated: Aug 16th, 2007 - 19:28:08 

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Accidents Happen, Be Alert While Boating in the Local Waterways
By Jonie Maschek
Jul 5, 2007, 15:12

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 I wonder how many wear a life jacket when they are out in a boat? I always tell people ďLife jackets Will Float, Most People Donít.Ē
Boating accidents happen when least expected. There are many reasons for accidents: the weather, another boaterís wake, unknown waterways and falling overboard, to name a few.

Know your boat! Make a check list of all points from the anchor to the engine before leaving shore. Be sure to have enough life jackets for everyone aboard and make sure everyone wears one.
Boating accidents can occur in any vessel, from the small fishing boat to large sailboats and yachts.
Hypothermia is a concern if someone falls overboard. A severe reduction in body heat is lost faster than it can be replaced in the water. Remember, water doesnít have to be cold or icy to cause hypothermia. It just has to be cooler than the victimís body temperature.
I hope you become familiar with techniques of survival in cold water. Survival is dependent upon reducing the lost of body heat. This is when a life jacket is essential. Many do not survive because they did not have their life jacket on. If in the water with others, put arms around each other and stay in a group, as this will boost your moral and help keep your body heat.
Some people think it is best to remove clothing. This is not true. A layer of water trapped inside clothing will be warmed by body heat and help insulate the victim. The insulation is needed in the area of the head, chest and groin. This is where heat is lost more rapidly. Clothes could trap air pockets which aids in flotation.
Never attempt to swim a long distance to shore. I know that the shore appears to be real close but looks are deceiving. Only swim to get back into the boat if it is close by.
If you have waders on, remove them as soon as possible. They will fill up with water and drag you to the bottom.
Be ever mindful of the weather as hurricane season in Florida lasts for six months. Keep in touch with the weather while out in the waterways. Donít hesitate to come ashore if you hear a  warning about bad weather. Donít think that it wonít come your way,  best to  head for shore.
Floridaís sunny days and clear skies have welcomed anglers from all over. As I traveled along U.S. 41 going to bait shops in Gibsonton, I noticed at Williams Park there were so many boat trailers I couldnít count them. Talking to some boaters they told me that is was real easy to travel to U.S. 41 and exit at Gibsonton from all directions and straight down to Williams park. They come from Tampa, Plant City, Lakeland and Bradenton-Sarasota areas. It also is a free launch.
Talk around local bait shops is, ďWhere did all the mullet go?Ē I havenít heard of or seen a public fish fry of mullet for any occasion this year. I have heard nothing about mullet from Florida Wildlife Commission.
I saw a large group being served a fish stew this week. I more or less got the recipe. Now the guys who were cooking this stew, tell me they donít measure anything and donít follow any recipes! Cut up tomatoes, add some tomato sauce, dice potatoes, throw in some small carrots, chop up some peppers, onions and a clove or two of garlic. Use a pound or two or three, depending on the size of the pot and the number of people you are feeding, of catfish fillets, sheepshead, redfish or trout or whatever you caught. Take out all the bones or only use fillets. Flavor with basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook vegetables before adding the fish. Only cook fish until it flakes.
Tarpon are still being chased in the bay waters.
Cobia are being hooked in most parts of the bay, as they have stayed around in the warm water.
Sheepshead are schooling around the piers.
Redfish are playing hard in the canals.
Flounder  are hiding on the sandy bottoms of the waterways.
Snook are sleeping in holes, taking it easy. They cannot be caught until Sept. 1. So if you a catch one, release it.

© Copyright 2007 by The Observer News Publications and M&M Printing Company, Inc.

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