Always wear a lifejacket and carry a means of calling for help and keep it within reach. If it can’t be reached in an emergency, it’s no help.

More than a million people in the UK and Ireland enjoy angling - either from a boat or from the shore.

While angling might not seem like a particularly dangerous coastal sport, RNLI lifeboats were launched 661 times to anglers in 2015. The majority of angling fatalities were those fishing from areas of exposed shoreline. Many of these people might have been saved if they had been wearing a lifejacket and had taken a means of calling for help.

Here are some top tips to enjoy angling safely:

  • Always carry a means of calling for help and keep it within reach. If it can’t be reached in an emergency, it’s no help.
  • Wear a lifejacket.
  • Check the weather and tides.
  • Tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back.
  • Wear appropriate clothing for the conditions and your trip.

Watch: Colm Plunkett was fishing with his daughter when a rogue wave washed him into the sea. He credits his lifejacket for keeping him alive, and wants to encourage other anglers to wear a lifejacket.

What is the best means for calling for help? Here are some options:

Personal locator beacon (PLB)

A PLB can send a distress message, plus your location, to the Coastguard from anywhere in the world, providing there is a clear view of the sky. The Coastguard will launch the appropriate rescue service to your GPS position.

Mobile phone

Always take a fully charged mobile phone in a waterproof pouch when kayaking. Consider using the RYA Safe Trx app (UK) or ISA SafeTrx (Republic of Ireland) apps to track and log your passage and alert your emergency contact if you fail to return before your ETA. If you get into trouble dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard. Be aware that many areas of coast do not have mobile phone signal, so an alternative means of calling for help may be better.

Waterproof handheld VHF

A waterproof DSC VHF allows you to send a distress message with your location direct to the Coastguard with a single button push. You then follow this with a voice call on channel 16, which is broadcast to all VHF radios in the area.

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