What Safety Precautions Should You Take When Hunting From a Boat?

 Hunting from a boat is greatly different from hunting on ground. First of all, the most obvious difference is that you’re going to be hunting on water, and this increases the dangers by a tenfold. Secondly, different rules apply when boat hunting. There are slightly varying safety precautions we should take that would make your hunting trip as safe as possible. Thus, in this article, we’ll be answering the question: what safety precautions should you take when hunting from a boat? (More information about Best hunting boots click here!)


What Safety Precautions Should You Take When Hunting From A Boat?

1. Learn how to swim

What Safety Precautions Should You Take When Hunting From a Boat?

Make sure everybody on the boat knows how to swim - Photo credit: cbsnews2.cbsistatic.com

This tip is a no-brainer. Of course, if you’re going to be anywhere near a body of water, you’re going to need to learn how to swim. Whether the said body of water is deep or shallow, the skill of swimming can save your life or someone else’s.

It’s also best if your hunting buddies all know how to swim because, for example, if a boat capsizes, it’s difficult to get everyone to safety if one or two of them don’t know how to swim to shore.

You should also come up with a safety plan before going on your boat. If the boat capsizes, where is the nearest shoreline? How will you stay together while swimming to safety? And how do you get back on the boat if this happens? You need to think ahead in order to be extra safe.

2. Wear a life jacket or personal floatation device (PFD)

What Safety Precautions Should You Take When Hunting From a Boat?

Wear your PFD at all times - Photo credit: www.wildfowlmag.com

Just like a high-visibility orange vest while hunting, a personal floatation device is a piece of apparel that can save your life. Thus, you should always wear one whenever you’re going in or near the water.

A PFD can also come in camouflage print, so that you can blend in with your surroundings while boat hunting. Bottom line is: you should make sure that your PFD is strapped on your body at all times, even if it’s hot. Your safety should be the first priority.

It’s also recommended that you make sure everyone on your boat has his or her own PFD. Aside from that, I also think it’s best that you keep a spare on inside your boat’s compartment at all times, just in case.

3. Know when to fire a weapon

What Safety Precautions Should You Take When Hunting From a Boat?

Follow this tip to avoid capsizing - Photo credit: stayhunting.com

Whether you’re hunting with a hunting rifle or a bow and arrow, the same rule applies: only fire your weapon once your boat is still and anchored, and the motor is turned off. You should also make sure that you are sitting before firing your weapon. Failing to do so can cause your boat to turned over and/or cause you to fall off of it.

4. Make sure you have a hunting license and know the local laws on boat hunting

What Safety Precautions Should You Take When Hunting From a Boat?

Obtain the necessary requirements before you head out - Photo credit: http://www.wildfowlmag.com

Of course, you should always bring your validated hunting license in your pack at all times. If possible, keep it on your body or inside your pocket. Apart from that, it’s also mandatory that you review the local hunting and fishing laws in your area. This will prevent any legal problems that may occur if you do otherwise.

5. Pack smart

What Safety Precautions Should You Take When Hunting From a Boat?

Pack only the essentials on your boat - Photo credit: s190.photobucket.com

Overloading your boat can cause it to capsize. Whether the baggage is people or gear, you should always make sure that your load is balanced and not excessive.

To make sure you don’t overload, only pack the necessary stuff on your boat and leave the rest on the shore or in your car. Food, water, weapons, ammo, an ice box, first aid kit, and a communication device are some of the bare essentials.

You should also make sure that the stuff you leave on the shore are safe from animals or other hunters. If possible, hide or secure them in a safe place. Better yet, leave them in your car.

Tip: Pack small equipment and supplies in resealable plastic bags so they will stay dry if you drop them in the water or if the boat capsizes. This is best for things like phones, GPS, food, flashlight, lighter, etc.

6. Wear the right clothes

What Safety Precautions Should You Take When Hunting From a Boat?

Dress according to the weather - Photo credit: nighthawkpublications.com

The cold is one of the biggest enemies if you’re out hunting in the wilderness. In the case of hunting from a boat, cold water is your biggest danger next to capsizing. Therefore, you should always make sure that you are dressed right for the day’s weather.

Thick clothing is recommended under a waterproof jacket (which, in turn, should be underneath a PFD). It would also be wise if you bring an extra set of clothing on your boat just in case you get wet. Your hunting boots should also be well-insulated so that you don’t get cold feet while hunting.

If you’re hunting in cold water, you should be very, very cautious as to not get wet. Getting soaked or even dampened by cold water will increase your chances of getting hypothermia.

7. Make sure to bring a trained hunting dog

What Safety Precautions Should You Take When Hunting From a Boat?

Put your pup in his own life jacket - Photo credit: www.gundogmag.com

A hunting dog, if you’re going to bring one on your boat hunting trip, should be well-trained and ready to ride a boat. Just because he’s a good hunting dog on land doesn’t mean he can compose himself while on water. Some hunting dogs may get freaked out and cause the boat to capsize.

In this case, you should test out your hunting dog’s capabilities while on shallow water. If he doesn’t show any signs of distress while on a vessel, I guess it’s safe to take him to deeper waters. Make sure he also obeys commands well just in case of an emergency.

Most dogs can swim, but if you want to be extra safe, put your hunting dog in a floatation device as well.

8. Do not drink while hunting on a boat

What Safety Precautions Should You Take When Hunting From a Boat?

Drinking can cause boat accidents - Photo credit: myactivesg.com

This is another obvious safety tip for hunting on a boat, but most hunters choose to ignore it. If you’re on a boat, drinking alcohol or taking recreational drugs is definitely a no-no. It can be a recipe for disaster, one that is totally unnecessary.

Therefore, just save the alcohol for when you’re on shore. If you get bored during a boat ride, bring a radio or book to keep yourself entertained.


Boat hunting is serious business, and safety tips concerning this type of hunting are not to be taken lightly. For all hunters who hunt on a boat or for those planning to try it out, you should always know what safety precautions you should take when hunting from a boat. They shouldn’t be too difficult to follow at all, and you should treat them seriously as they could save your or someone else’s life.

I do hope you picked up a lot of safety tips from this article. If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to leave them in the comments below. Share this with your hunting buddies so you can round them up for a boat hunting trip soon! Thanks for reading!

Sheldon Martin

Sheldon Martin is the founder of Captain Hunter. CaptainHunter.com is a site dedicated to the sport of hunting. We have a deep respect for nature and for the environment, and we therefore take the sport of hunting very seriously. Never think that you are alone in the woods again. Our goal is to share what we know with who needs it most.

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