Popular TV shows like Deadliest Catch and Shark Men do a pretty good job of making deep sea fishing look like a life or death experience. However, the reality of deep sea fishing is that it is likely you’ll be doing a whole lot of relaxing on the boat deck. Relaxing or not, deep sea fishing can be dangerous. Here are some key safety tips to follow when you are out on the boat.

Wear a Life Jacket

This is always the first thing to remember when you board a boat. Whether you go out for a half day or for a whole weekend, make sure that any time you are actually on the boat that you have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket on. Bad things can happen to even the most skilled swimmers. If something happens to your boat or if you get knocked off the boat, you don’t want to be stuck without a lifejacket.

Stow Your Gear Properly

Gear that is left out, no matter how small, can be a serious safety hazard for you and all other people on the boat. This means putting your gear away so it is out of sight. Don’t put anything directly on the deck. The deck will get wet and your gear will probably be in the way for the rest of the crew to pass, causing a tripping hazard.

 Listen to the Captain

SeaEven if you’ve done this a thousand times before, listen closely to the captain. He may know things about weather conditions in the area or things to look out for that you hadn’t thought of before or are unique to that particular trip. The captain will give everyone instructions when you load the boat, such as where the safety equipment can be found, any conditions for the day’s trip that you need to know, and how to rig up. If you have any questions, ask another crewmember.

Stay Calm and Collected

Once you get to the fishing grounds, remain calm and follow instructions. If you drop your line before getting the green light, you will probably either become tangled up or will need to reset your line anyway. Getting tangled can lead to other problems and can damage other people’s lines, so just be patient and wait until your captain says it’s okay.

It really doesn’t matter whether you’ve never been out deep-sea fishing before, or if you’re an avid outdoorsman with dozens of weekend fishing trips at Port Canaveral under your belt. The above safety tips are essential to having a good time and being safe doing it, whether you are out a Port Canaveral day fishing trips for the first time or the hundredth.