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Angling safely

Anglers should wear suitable protective waterproof clothing whether fishing from shore or boat. Suitable and appropriate footwear should be worn at all times. When fly fishing, the angler should wear a protective set of sunglasses as eye protection and a hat. Midge repellent is essential for fishing on many of the small lakes & streams in the summer months.

Angling from a boat?

Please note the law requires that a suitable Personal Flotation Device must be worn in the following situations:

  • By anyone on board an open craft that is under 7 meters in length.
  • By anyone on deck on a craft that is under 7 meters length.
  • By anyone under the age of 16 on board an open craft or on deck of any other type of craft.


Some Irish inland waters are very large and become dangerous in high winds; they may have reefs or rocky shoals which can be hazardous even on a calm day. When intending to use a boat, anglers should notify someone about where they are fishing and what time they are due to return. It is essential to be familiar with such waters and their hazards before going afloat unaided; a ghillie or guide should be hired for the first few days of the trip.

Safety at Sea

It should be noted that all anglers going to sea in small boats must wear life jackets at all times. Anglers under 16 years of age must also wear life jackets at all times when on board licensed charter vessels. All other anglers on board a charter vessel must have access to a life jacket. It is the responsibility of every angler on a charter boat, to ask to see the current certification from the Dept of Transport and to view a copy of the vessels insurance policy before putting to sea.

Charter Boat Certification

It is strongly advised that you confirm with any operators you may wish to use that they fully comply with the safety regulations and standards layed down by the Maritime Safety Services. Furthermore, anglers, when commencing their charter trip, should ask to see relevant insurance and safety documentation which should be prominently displayed on board.

Angling Safety Checklist

Please review and be familiar with this angler safety checklist. We also recommend you download a copy of the more detailed Angler Safety Guidelines[pdf, 702KB].

Before you go


  • High winds combined with waves can swamp a boat or carry you off the shore.
  • Poor visibility can mean you might not find your way back.
  • Check the weather forecast before you go and if bad weather is forecast, onsider postponing your fishing trip.
  • www.met.ie

Tides & currents

  • Strong tides and currents can carry you away very quickly.
  • Rising tides or water levels can cut you off from shore.
  • Check which way the tide or current is flowing and what time the tide is in or out.

Local knowledge

  • If you don’t know the area, ask someone who does where the safe and often the best places to fish are located.
  • While you are doing so remember to ask about local currents and tides and any local dangers

Have you got the right gear?

  • Bring the right gear with you including Personal Flotation Devices (lifejacket or buoyancy aid), even if you are fishing from shore.
  • If you are wading wear a life jacket, carry a staff and wear the right gear – waders or layers to keep out the cold, boots with appropriate grips.
  • Also consider if you have enough warm waterproof clothes, boots, sun protection, and of course all of your angling gear.
  • A marine VHF radio or mobile phone will allow you to call for help if you need it.

Who knows where you will be?

Tell someone where you are going, what time you will be back, what to do if you don’t turn up and who to contact.

While angling

Always go with someone

  • If you get into trouble there will be someone there to help you or call for help.

Watch the conditions

  • Weather, daylight, water levels and currents can change quickly.
  • Watch what is happening around you to avoid getting caught out.

Managing the boat

If you are using a boat make sure that;

  • you have enough fuel,
  • the boat is not overloaded
  • if anyone feels seasick, it is best to come ashore immediately
  • always wear a Personal Flotation Device when on deck.

Stay sober

Many accidents on or near the water are caused by drinking alcohol. It will impair your judgment and reactions as well as speeding up heat loss.

In an emergency


Telephone 999 or 112 and ask for Coast Guard.


Call Coast Guard using VHF radio on channel 16.
If you have no VHF use a phone and dial 999 or 112.

Angling Safety Checklist [pdf, 512KB]

Angler Safety Guidelines[pdf, 702KB]