Safety Guide

We give here some general advice which may be helpful to you. It is not meant to be exhaustive and cannot cover every situation. So please do not rely on it. Form your own cautious policy of what is sensible and safe, and then stick to it!

Pay attention when wading
  • Wherever possible, seek local advice before wading.
  • Always wear a life jacket. It should be worn over all other clothing at all times.
  • Ensure that your waders are in good condition and the soles are suitable for the type of river bed you will be wading on.
  • When using chest waders always wear a wading belt.
  • Use a wading staff.
  • Be constantly alert for changing water conditions.
  • Do not wade in a spate.
  • Take your time. Move deliberately and maintain a constant watch for changes in depth, boulders, loose gravel, underwater obstructions and shelving rocks.
  • If you do fall in to deep water, try to stay calm. Float on your back with your feet pointing downstream and use your hands to guide you into shallow water. If possible crawl back to the bank before attempting to empty your waders.
Avoid slips and falls
  • Be especially careful on steep banks and where undergrowth obscures the ground. Look out for overhanging and unstable banks, deep mud, holes, slippery rocks and boulders.
  • Always wear a life jacket when fishing from the bank.
  • Wear appropriate footwear. Remember, felt-soled waders can be extremely dangerous on wet grass or on muddy banks.
  • Use a wading staff for support.
Don't get hooked
  • Always protect your eyes by wearing safety glasses or wrap-around sunglasses.
  • Wear suitable headgear to protect the ears and to provide further protection for the eyes.
  • When casting, pay attention to and make allowances for wind direction and strength.
  • Be conscious of the other river users; check behind and around you to ensure that your backcast is clear before making each cast.
Fishing alone
  • When fishing alone, leave details with a responsible person of where you are going and when you expect to return. If you change your plans, make sure that the responsible person is advised.
  • Always wear a life jacket.
Electricity kills
  • Contact or near contact with overhead cables must be avoided. Look out and up for overhead cables for assembling a rod and before fishing begins.
  • Carry rods parallel to the ground, never upright or over a shoulder.

Watch the weather
  • Wear warm and waterproof clothing and a hat in cold weather.
  • Reflection from water intensifies the effects of the sun. Use sun protection and cover up in strong sunlight.
  • Don't fish during a thunderstorm. Lay your rod down and don't attempt to pick it up until the storm has passed.
  • Never attempt to step on ice at the side of the river or loch.
Take care in boats
  • Always follow the ghillie's advice.
  • Always wear a life jacket.
  • Avoid standing up in the boat.
  • In the absence of a ghillie, boats should only be used by responsible and competent persons. Be aware of the prevailing conditions, seek local advice and if in doubt, don't go out.
Beware of the bull
  • Pay attention to signs warning of possible dangers and, where possible, avoid crossing fields containing livestock, particularly if you have a dog with you.
Rescuing another angler
  • Reach out with a tree limb or other long object if the person is close to you be careful not to over balance. If you can't reach the person, then throw them something buoyant. If at all possible, it should be tied to the end of a line so you can pull the person to you. Anything that floats can be thrown. Think quickly, act swiftly and be resourceful. Swim out to save the person in trouble ONLY as a last resort and ONLY if you are an experienced lifeguard or have had life-saving training. Going into the water after the person in trouble is very dangerous. People who are drowning often panic and injure or even drown someone trying to rescue them. Going quickly for help is often the best choice.