What Safety Precaution Should You Take When Hunting From a Boat?

Hunting from a boat can be a great and fun experience, especially if you do it with a friend. It’s an excellent way of spending time in nature while honing your hunting skills, but it may also be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. You should be aware of all the potential issues and take precautions to ensure you are as safe as possible while hunting on the boat.

When hunting from a boat, you should check out the weather forecast, dress appropriately, and pack essential items. You should also check the boat and test it to ensure no defects or leaks. Learn the laws and regulations about boat hunting and let someone know where you’re going.

In the rest of this article, I’ll list and explain all the safety precautions you must take before hunting on a boat. I’ll also include some extra tips that could be life-saving. Let’s get started!

Common Precautions That Will Keep You Safe While Hunting on a Boat

Hunting alone can be quite dangerous, especially to beginners who aren’t secure in their abilities. Hunting on a boat is a new challenge, so if you’re considering it, you should start thinking about how it can go wrong and prepare. 

Here are some useful precautions that could save your life in certain moments:

Check Out the Weather Forecast in Advance

Before you take any steps with hunting gear or your boat, you need to make sure that the weather will be appropriate for hunting

In general, it’s always a good idea to check out the weather forecast before you go on any outdoor activity because rain, wind, and thunderstorms may ruin your experience and even become life-threatening.

You must know that the weather will be good enough before hunting on your boat because so many things could go wrong if you hunt during a storm. Check out the weather report days in advance and track it as the day of the hunting trip comes closer.

If you see a chance of high winds or rainstorms, cancel the trip altogether. It may be inconvenient to postpone a much-awaited hunting trip, but it’s the safest option. However, in some cases, the weather report may fail to predict a sudden rainstorm. You should stay close to the shore to ensure you’re always ready to escape such a situation.

Dress Appropriately

Having checked the weather, you will know exactly what the temperatures will be like during your hunting trip, and you should dress appropriately. Generally, hunting is done in relatively low temperatures, so you should layer up.

Hunting from a boat can be extra cold because the proximity to cold water and being in the open will affect your body temperature. Wear a few layers and something thick enough to keep the wind and the cold outside. Additionally, you should wear a waterproof jacket to protect your body on the boat.

You shouldn’t forget to wear suitable hunting boots that are waterproof. Also, don’t forget that you’ll be on a boat; any small mistake can result in you treading water, so you should pack extra clothes to wear if the ones you wear become wet. You should also remove any wet clothing to avoid hypothermia.

If you end up in the water while hunting from your boat, take precautions to remain afloat. There are special boat-hunting personal flotation devices available in specialty stores, which are made to keep you afloat and ensure you are comfortable at the same time. These are essential, life-saving devices, so consider high-quality ones suitable for your build.

Pack the Essentials

You’ll need several items and accessories on your boat hunting trip, so you should pack all these essentials while ensuring you’re not overloading your boat. 

Here are some of the most important items you will need while hunting from a boat:

  • Water
  • Food
  • Firearms
  • Ammo
  • GPS devices
  • Radio or satellite communication devices
  • Night vision devices
  • Compass
  • First aid kit
  • Waterproof containers or storage

Each of the items above is pretty essential for different purposes throughout your trip. Regarding GPS or communication devices, you should select high-quality equipment that will work even in the worst conditions.

You should consider your boat’s capacity when you load all the above gear on your boat. These life-saving items may become a huge problem if their weight exceeds the boat’s maximum capacity because they may cause your vessel to capsize. Don’t make any preparations if you don’t know the exact weight your boat can hold.

Check out our article on: Your Boat Capsizes But Remains Afloat What Should You Do?

Check the Boat’s Condition

Before taking your boat out in the water, inspect it thoroughly or have an expert do it to make sure your vessel is in great condition. Once you’re sure there are no leaks or problems that may cause trouble while hunting, take the boat out just for a test drive to get used to the feel and positioning.

Your boat must be in great condition, but it’s just as essential to make sure you can control it easily, even in difficult circumstances. If your boat suffers from a malfunction while you’re out hunting, you need to know exactly how to get out of the water as quickly and safely as possible.

You should also confirm that your hunting boat has a kill switch, ensuring that your boat’s engine will turn off if you fall overboard. This crucial security measure increases your chances of surviving in such extreme and dangerous cases.

Consider the Extra Factors if There Are Two People on the Boat

If you’re taking a friend with you on your boat hunting trip, you need to consider a few different aspects

First, you should ensure your boat has enough capacity to hold two people and the extra accessories with ease.

Additionally, you should remember that two people in a hunting boat can become an obstacle or, worse, a proper danger to one another if they’re not positioned correctly. Two hunters should stay back to back on a hunting boat and agree on their respective firing zones before getting on the boat to ensure they both can hunt properly.

Ensure you and your friend know the essentials before getting on the boat and are clear on what your firing zones are. Remember to always communicate throughout the hunting trip to make sure you know what the other hunter is doing since you won’t be able to see much as you’ll be positioned back to back.

Know How To Safely Use Your Gun While on the Boat

Hunting by boat adds an extra layer of risk, so you need to know everything there is to know about using your firearm on a boat before actually getting on it. There are several laws and regulations that you should read and understand so that you are completely safe and following the law.

The most basic rule of boat hunting is only to fire when your vessel has come to a complete stop. You should turn off the motor of your vehicle or furl the sail of your sailboat before you fire your arm. Doing otherwise would be illegal and unsafe, so you should not attempt it, even if you feel like it’s completely fine.

Familiarize yourself with your hunting firearms before getting on your boat. You should know how to load and fire them properly because being on the water may become a challenge; you don’t want the extra pressure of an unfamiliar gun in your hands.

Don’t Consume Alcohol or Any Type of Narcotics

This should go without saying, but you shouldn’t consume any alcohol or drugs before you get on the boat to hunt. Any type of influence is hazardous when you’re firing a gun and doubly so when you’re also on the water.

If you’re using prescription medications that may influence your judgment or clarity, you shouldn’t go hunting, on your boat, or otherwise. Check with your doctor to make sure your medication doesn’t affect you substantially or talk about substitute medications if it does. Stay away from recreational drugs throughout the trip.

Let Someone Know Where You’re Going

If you’re going on a boat hunting trip alone, consider the worst-case scenarios, like getting stranded in the middle of the water on your boat or even out of it. In these cases, you can’t wait for someone to rescue you.

Before going on your trip, let someone know where you’re going and what you’ll do so they have all the necessary information they can give rescue teams in case something happens to you. Someone must know where you are at all times.

Boat hunters typically make a Float Plan, a piece of paper specifying exactly where they will be, how many people they will take, and the times of departure and return. You can also include different information you think is important for rescue teams. Leave this information with someone you trust and who will not be going anywhere until the time of your return.


Boat hunting is a fun experience but also quite dangerous, so you must take every possible precaution to ensure you will be safe. For instance, you should know what the weather will be like, what to wear, and what to take.

Familiarize yourself with your firearms and test your boat before going on your trip to ensure everything works properly. Finally, you should tell someone where you will be and when you are planning to return, so they can alert authorities if something happens to you.

ProjectHunting Time! Boating

Check out our article on: How Should Firearms Be Transported In A Boat? (Proper Way)

Photo of author

Project Boating Editorial Staff

My name is Brad Visser the chief editor and owner of Projectboaing.com. We have an amazing team of writers that contribute to our website. This team is passionate about boating and have years of experience not only in boats, but in writing helpful, informative articles to answer questions you may have.

Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.