Winter Fishing Tips for Boat Owners

Winter fishing with spinning. Fisherman with pike fish trophy

Winter Fishing Tips for Boat Owners

When boat owners hear the term “winter boating tips,” they might think of winter boat storage tips.  What about tips for people who enjoy fishing during winter?  Signal Connect realizes that there are plenty of people who like to take their boat out in the cold.  Does that describe you?  If so, you might find this information useful.  We talked to a handful of boat owners who enjoy winter fishing.  Some of them own their own craft while others run paid charters.  Everyone we talked to agree that any boat owner can benefit from these winter boating tips.

Be Prepared for the Worst

Winter typically means that the pleasure boating season over, at least in most locales.  While this means less crowded waterways and docks, it also means that there are fewer potential rescuers to assist you in emergencies.  If you’re going out, don’t go out alone.  Experts also recommend that you leave a float plan with your spouse, friend, or anyone else who will call authorities if you haven’t checked in at a predetermined time.

It’s best to avoid sudden squalls and other nasty winter weather.  That’s why experienced winter boaters recommend you check the weather before you head out into those winter waters.  Remember, the U.S. Coast Guard’s boating statistics clearly state that the cold weather in January and February pose the biggest risk for fatalities.  When you plan to stay safe, you have a much better chance of not becoming a statistic.

Wear Proper Winter Attire

You and your passengers must wear proper attire when you take your boat out during in the cold, winter weather.  This starts with something called a “float coat.”  Never heard of it?  It’s a jacket with a built-in personal flotation device (PFD).  Not only will these coats keep you afloat if you fall overboard, the jackets will also keep you warm.  All the foam that is in these coats provides great insulation. 

Don’t have a float coat?  Then you’d better wear a life jacket.  This type of PFD can buy you enough time to pull yourself back in the boat before the effects of hypothermia set in.  Vests keep you warm in and out of the water, and the rights ones can give you freedom of movement over bulky winter clothing.  Make sure each passenger on your boat has some type of life jacket, too.  Also, make sure you have a boarding ladder, length of rope with loops, or other reliable method for quickly getting back on board.

Ski goggles are something else you and your passengers should wear on the boat.  Yes, you read that correctly.  It’s highly recommended that winter boaters wear some ski goggles when they’re out on the waves.  Regular sunglasses don’t provide any protection from that biting cold that’s carried on the winter winds.  Ski goggles are built for cold weather, and they will keep your eyes from watering when you’re out on the boat.   

Stay Warm Out There!

This tip isn’t just about making sure you dress for the weather.  We’re pretty sure you’ll make sure you do that!  When we tell you to “stay warm” out on your boat, what we mean is to be sure to bring back up gear for yourself and anyone else on your vessel.  You never know when you might get wet.  You could get doused by a wave or the spray from another vessel.  If you’re into a fishing, sometimes those lunkers can thrash around in the water quite a bit when you’re trying to land them.

Should you or anyone else get wet, you need to get warm fast!  Hypothermia is no joke.  It’s the No. 1 cause of death for boaters during the off-season.  In addition to a change of clothes, be sure to pack up with pocket warmers, a thermos filled with a hot drink or soup, and anything else designed to get wet and cold people dry and warm in a hurry.

Prepare the Plumbing!

Before you take your vessel out into winter waters, remember to plug the live well from the inside.  Also, be sure to disconnect the water pressure and speed hoses behind the helm gauges.  Since your boat’s plumbing can’t shut off, some things onboard will take on water the moment you fire up your boat motor.  (Many of these things don’t have the ability to be cut off.)  These onboard devices take in what that remains in the lines.  When the weather drops very low, that water can freeze and damage or destroy your lines.

Before you leave at the end of the day, trim the outboard motor all the way down.  From there, remove the kill switch and turn the engine over for a moment.  This pumps out any water that might still be inside it.  If you didn’t plug up the live well (like we recommended above), make sure you take the time to drain it.  This can help prevent the risk of that water freezing and causing damage to your craft.

Bonus Tip: DIRECTV for Your Boat

If winter fishing is your thing, these tips should be a huge help.  You know what else can improve your boating experience during the winter and every other season?  Getting DIRECTV on your vessel or craft.  DIRECTV easily installs in nearly any vessel, and lets boat owners and passengers enjoy the best news, sports, and entertainment.  This is great for boat owners and their guests who want to get the most from their experience on the water.

Are you interested in learning more about DIRECTV for your luxury craft or working vessel?  It’s easier than you might think… when you work with Signal Connect.  We can match you with the best programming package, marine satellite TV dome, and much more.  Your Signal Connect rep will match you with a professional DIRECTV installer, and we’ll also activate your DIRECTV account.  Best of all, your Signal Connect rep continues to offer free account management services after the sale.  When you need help, your U.S.-based account representative is only a phone call away.

Are you interested in learning more about DIRECTV for your boat?  Just take a moment to fill out this form then click “submit.”  A Signal Connect rep will get back with you in one business day or less.  This person will answer any questions you have about marine DIRECTV for luxury craft and working vessels.  You can also give us a call at 866-726-4182.