When it comes to a safety you can never write too much about it to remind anglers on a safety tips that we often ignore or like to forget, thinking only how to get to the water and start fishing. Nice calm day can suddenly turn into havoc and being offshore, far from any hideout and hard ground, with just a paddle, can turn you fishing trip to a life threatening nightmare.
Except PFD which is a must, kayak anglers should be carrying some communications device. VHF handheld device is safest and most reliable option and should be in your kayak. If you call for help over VHF, all boats nearby can come and help you and you can always get the latest weather report. Mobile phone has its limitations comparing to VHF, signal coverage out on the sea may be the biggest, than inability for other than called number to hear us or get weather warnings is also a big issue. But all this is another topic for another article.
Great thing about Smartphone is everybody has it today, so one expense less. (Although you shouldn’t save on safety. Money can’t buy you a new life later). Since we live in the era of Smombies and most of us admit it or not turning into one, I am confident that there is no need to remind people to take them on a fishing trip. Everyone will have it for sure and that’s great. If you don’t have one yet, consider buying one that is waterproof and has GPS for your next phone. In 2017 there is a bunch of waterproof, salt and dust resistant phones released, so plenty to choose from.
Except being useful for emergency calls there are great applications we can use on phone and turn it into a powerful GPS plotter.
One of those is Navionics application. With only having a GPS your phone turns into a powerful navigational unit, giving you Nautical charts, Sonar Charts and possibility to communicate with other user of the application, sharing your position, fishing spots , point of interests etc. You can also receive a detailed weather forecast, wind conditions, currents, sun/moon cycles and a lot more. Of course, there is also a social media sharing of your adventures.
There are other apps worth considering, like I-boating, Plan2Nav, which is free (with add-ons you pay for, but very usable in a free version), Garmin BlueChart (IOS only).
They are all loaded with options, so no more guessing game on a new fishing water or spot. Depth info, waypoints, navigation, distance measures and much more becomes available with just a Smartphone.
Try one of those and you won’t be turning back. It was certainly a discovery for me.