What Safety Precautions Are Needed When Hunting From a Boat?

What safety precaution should you take when hunting from a boat? This question should be of the utmost importance to you when boat hunting.

Here’s a list of 8 key safety precautions you should implement if you are going hunting from a boat.

Precautions at a Glance:

  1. Have a float plan
  2. Wear proper clothing
  3. Know how to swim
  4. Pack emergency and safety kits
  5. Wear a personal flotation device
  6. Only shoot when the boat is at a complete stop
  7. Remain seated while shooting
  8. Do not drink or use recreational drugs

Precautions in detail:

Here are 8 precautions you should take whenever hunting from a boat:

1. Have a float plan

Before going hunting on a boat, you will want to have a float plan. A float plan is a document that you leave with someone you trust every time you go hunting.

The purpose of this document is that someone not on the hunting trip will be able to alert authorities in the case that you do not return or are not communicating. This document may save your life in the case of an emergency.

Your float plan should answer the following issues:

  • Why are you on the boat?
  • When do you expect to depart?
  • When do you expect to arrive back?
  • How many people will be with you?

You can leave this document in the form of a physical piece of paper, virtual message, or text message. You will want the document written down, as opposed to simply telling them, so your trusted person can reference it throughout the day. This removes the chance of your trusted person forgetting your answers.

2. Wear proper clothing

Before going out on the water, make sure that you wear proper clothing. This tip may seem like a small issue, but improper clothing can cost you your life should something go wrong.

The clothing you wear should be protective but lightweight. You do not want it to be restrictive or too heavy because it could inhibit your swimming abilities should you fall overboard. With your swimming inhibited, you may drown.

Here are some other factors to consider when choosing your clothing:

  • Temperature
  • Weather conditions
  • Sun protection
  • Buoyancy

3. Know how to swim

One of the most important safety precautions you can take while hunting from a boat is knowing how to swim. If something were to happen to the boat, you would need to be able to swim for survival. If you cannot swim, you will drown.

Do not ever hunt on a boat if you do not know how to swim. Even if you are hunting with a partner, that partner may not be able to keep both you and him/herself alive. The ability to swim may save your life in the case of an emergency.

4. Pack emergency and safety kits

Before leaving for the water, be sure to pack health and safety kits. These kits will assist you in the case of an emergency.

Here are some items you will want to include in these kits:

You will want to store these items in a waterproof container or bag. This bag will keep the items safe should the boat capsize. It is also a good idea for the bag to have flotational features so you can easily swim with it.

5. Wear a personal floatation device

When you are on or around the water, always wear a personal flotation device (PFD). Many people find wearing a PFD as unnecessary, but it may save your life in the case that something goes wrong.

While wearing a PFD, make sure that it is worn correctly. The fit of your PFD is key to its functionality. You want the PFD to be close enough to your body that it supports you, but you do not want it so tight as to restrict your breathing.

If the PFD is either too big or too small, it will hinder your swimming abilities. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to move the PFD two or so inches away from your body.

6. Only shoot when the boat is at a complete stop

As you are getting ready to hunt from your boat, only fire when the boat is at a complete stop and turned off. Do not ever fire when the boat is moving.

Firing during motion can throw you off balance and propel you into the water. It will also make aiming more difficult, which could cause you to shoot someone or something that you were not aiming at.

Shooting when the boat is off and at a stand-still will protect both you and your surroundings.

7. Remain seated while shooting

To further protect yourself, only shoot while you are seated. This position will allow you to better stabilize yourself and prevent you from falling overboard.

If you shoot while standing up, you run the risk of losing your balance, falling overboard, and flipping your boat. It is very important that you minimize your chances of falling overboard by staying seated while you shoot.

8. Do not drink or use recreational drugs

Another key precaution tip is to refrain from drinking or using recreational drugs. If you are under the influence in any way, you run the risk of injuring yourself and others. It is always best to refrain from any and all state-altering substances while on a boat or hunting.

Hunting with a clear head is the best way to ensure safety and clear sightings.


If you are going hunting on boat, you need to take special safety precautions to protect yourself and others. To help you out, we have created a list of 8 safety precautions you should take when hunting from a boat.