Proper safety equipment is even more important than tools for fishing in these outboard canyon runners, say our skippers.
Brad Berk's safety arsenal includes two satellite phones, two fixed-mount VHF radios, a hand-held VHF radio, two GPS chart plotters, a hand-held GPS, an EPIRB and a six-man life raft.
For Bill Platt, his Garmin satellite weather data receiver ranks as one of the most important safety tools on the boat. "We can see any kind of fronts coming - any type of storm," he says. "Lightning storms, how big the seas are, wind velocity - it gives us the capability to outrun the weather or go around it." He frequently runs home in the dark, so radar plays an important role. Platt and his crew deviate from recommended safety procedures in one respect - they normally don't wear life jackets unless the weather gets bad. But he does always attach a lanyard to a switch at the helm that'll kill the engines if he's thrown away from the helm.
Paul Jaworski also relies on a satellite weather service and a 10kW open-array radar. "Both help with good decision making on the water," he says. "I do always carry offshore a six-man offshore life raft - Winslow - and an ACR Global Fix Pro EPIRB and a well-stocked ditch kit."
He rents a satellite phone for the long trips. Those are the essential items for offshore running for Jaworski. Other emergency paraphernalia include a well-stocked toolbox, plenty of fuses, various sizes of wood plugs and rescue tape.
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This article originally appeared in the March 2010 issue.