Being close to wild, untamed and spectacular nature is a big part of the attraction of fishing in Norway, but personal safety must always come first. The weather is changeable, so checking the forecast, taking local advice, wearing the correct clothing and carrying appropriate safety equipment is essential.
Norwegians have great respect for the sea and take safety very seriously. If you are fishing with an experienced skipper on a licensed craft you can rely on him or her to take the necessary precautions. If however, you are hiring or using your own boat you will need to think a bit harder about safety issues.
Most self-use boats will be supplied with an array of safety equipment and a demonstration of how to use it. As a minimum, you should have on board: lifejackets for everyone, spare fuel, two anchors (one spare with a chain and warp of adequate length), ample rope, oars or spare engine, compass, first aid box, VHF radio and lights and emergency flares.
In Norway, most stations renting self-use boats have permanent moorings alongside a dock but it is advisable to know how to land a boat on a beach in extremis. Before sailing tell someone ashore of your intentions and estimated time of return and take clothing that is suitable for all possible conditions.
Once at sea, don’t take chances and follow good practice. Keep everything tidy within the boat and the deck free from fish slime and bait – it will help to avoid accidents. Don’t stand up when the boat is moving. Use the radio regularly to listen to the weather forecast, especially if you are a long way out. Look out for the onset of sea mist and for signs of bad weather coming up and keep your anchor cable buoyed and ready to slip in an emergency.
You won’t often need to travel far from shore to find good fishing ground, but give some thought to the type of vessel you are using when choosing your mark. Keep within a distance of base or shelter that you can make in good time if the weather worsens and remember that it is often risky for small craft to round headlands, especially if you don’t know what lies beyond.
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No fish is worth risking your life. Conditions at sea can be unpredictable so take adequate precautions before setting out on your fishing trip.
Safety at sea
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