Do you hunt waterfowl or hunt in and around lakes, streams, rivers or ponds? Do you use a jon boat, rowboat, duck-boat or a blind near your favorite haunt? If you do, don’t forget to be water wise!

Hunting safely takes a little planning and preparation. A life jacket can go a long way toward bringing hunters home. Life jacket designs come in a wide variety of styles and colors, including inflatables and foam-filled life jackets that keep you afloat and add extra insulation.

Here are some other simple things waterfowl hunters can do to stay safe on the water:

Don’t overload your boat.

Dress for the water temperature not the air temperature. Cold water immersion leads to hypothermia and wearing a life jacket can significantly increase your chances of survival.

Weather can change at any moment. Some of the worst storms strike when least expected. Strong winds and waves could capsize a craft or send a boater overboard.

Make sure the boat has enough fuel; no boater wants to be stranded on the water.

Carry a cell phone, VHF radio or personal locator beacon for emergency communication. Keep in mind you may not have cellular service in remote areas. Three blasts on a whistle can also be used for emergency signaling.

Leave a hunt/float plan with a family member or friend to let them know where you are going and when you plan on returning.

Take a boater safety course and receive a boater education certificate

If you have any questions, please contact Sara Smith, Boating Education Coordinator for the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Recreational Boating Safety Program, at 406-444-5280 or sarsmith@mt.gov.

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