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So, can you? I've been thinking a lot about this topic lately as I've been venturing away from my shallow lakes into off shore bass fishing. I'm ashamed to admit that I'm not the greatest swimmer at all. I always wear my PFD with kill switch and am extra cautious on the water. Even considered taking some classes with my kids in the summer but am a bit embarrassed to do so. Your thoughts on the whole subject?

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Like a fish.

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Try swimming with your cloths on including shoes, you don't fall overboard in a swim suit.

Tom

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I can swim excellent. Scuba diver and triathlete, but I don’t take chances and wear my Mustang 100% of the time.

 

Oddly enough a guy I fish with can’t swim a lick and won’t ever wear a PFD. Can’t wrap my head around that one and I’ve tried convincing him but it seems he won’t listen, but I’ll keep pestering him, might save his life one day

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It never hurts to learn to swim. I qualified class 1 and Q in the Marine Corps. That’s about 10 guys left in the pool out of a company of Marines. We were trained on various strokes for efficiency which definitely does not include freestyle or the butterfly swim. I would suggest you learn the same (breaststroke, sidestroke, backstroke, and how to tread water and float on your back.) you should hold each glide at the end of the stroke as long as possible. Learn the basics first then train on your own. The most important thing is wearing your pfd- the best swimmer cannnot swim while he is unconscious. 

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6 minutes ago, Preytorien said:

I can swim excellent. Scuba diver and triathlete, but I don’t take chances and wear my Mustang 100% of the time.

 

Oddly enough a guy I fish with can’t swim a lick and won’t ever wear a PFD. Can’t wrap my head around that one and I’ve tried convincing him but it seems he won’t listen, but I’ll keep pestering him, might save his life one day

These guys confuse the hell out of me.  I'm a decent swimmer, and I've gone overboard once or twice and have fallen wading.  I'd have been absolutely terrified if I didn't know how to swim.@WRB is spot on regarding clothes.  Clothes, shoes/wading boots, waders, cold water, current, or a head injury can make things very tricky very quickly.

 

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Yep, try to swim half hour a day for three or four days a week.

 

I go to a recovery pool that is 96* and it is heaven.

 

They will drop the temperature down to 92* as summer approaches.

 

You need a doctor's prescription to go there and I have one due to my knee replacement.

 

And I only take people on my boat who can swim.  No swim - no boat ride.

 

P.S. When growing up in south Louisiana I swam in the Mississippi Sound, Gulf and Lake Pontchartrain with no problem.  However, now I don't swim in any body of water where they can see me but I can't see them!!!

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Yes, swimming lessons as a young kid and having a backyard with a pool made me a strong swimmer. I'll never willingly go swimming in anything that isn't a pool, but I know if I ever tipped my boat or fell in, I'd be able to stay afloat.

 

 

Getting ejected from a boat traveling at a high speed is a whole different thing.

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Like a dog.

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I won't be winning any competitions any time soon but I feel very comfortable in the water. 

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It was part of our elementary school program in the fourth grade, but I learned early on by joining our local pool with other local kids.

 

But my mom almost drowned while on vacation when she was about 40, she was also not a good swimmer in her adult life. She went to the YMCA and took classes and now she's in great shape in her 70's.

 

Go for it man, learn to swim, no embarrassment at all and you'll get in good shape.

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Take the classes. There's no shame in improving a very important skill that could be the difference between life and death one day. 

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I grew up in Minnesota and Wisconsin... every time you make a wrong turn you fall in a lake.  Swimming is a survival skill.  My stepfather is the only native Minnesotan I ever new who wasn't at least a decent swimmer - he could dog paddle around, but was not what I'd call a swimmer.  I was in the lake with my mother when I was 6 months old, and every summer until I was 17 years old and we moved to Montana.  I was never taught to swim - from my earliest memories, I just knew how to handle myself in water.  Us kids swam in Balsam Lake from several different docks, almost never with adult supervision, and never thought anything of it.

 

28 minutes ago, WRB said:

Try swimming with your cloths on including shoes, you don't fall overboard in a swim suit.

Tom

Done that intentionally.  On the canoe trips I did as an Explorer scout on the Canadian border, I don't remember ever seeing any life preservers.  We paddled as far as 140 miles on my two 8 day trips, but they conducted a safety refresher before each trip.  That included paddling a canoe out a couple hundred feet from shore while fully dressed, then swamping it, getting back in and paddling it back to shore while it was full of water.  For me it was old hat, because I'd been doing that with our canoe just for fun ever since I was old enough to hold a paddle.  I've never tipped a canoe over by accident, despite my hundreds of hours spent in one, but I have no concerns about what to do if it should happen.

 

I know that in my canoe, I simply have to stay with the boat and I'm good... it won't sink.

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As a teenager of the 60's, all there was to do in my small town during the summer was to swim, fish, and play baseball, come to think of it, what more could I ask for. I agree, swimming with your clothes on is a lot different than swimming with swim trunks. O yea, getting  embarrassed is a lot better than dying. ;)

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I can swim. Pretty much taught myself before I ever took a class. As I kid I had no fear of the water. Now I have a healthy respect.

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If you are the boats captian/helmsman driving the boat you are responsible for everyone's safety in the boat. 

My late father in law couldn't swim and flew float planes, getting out onto the pontoon float while the plane coasted towards shore or a dock, and didn't wear a PFD. When riding in my bass boat I handed him my suspenders type and put it on saying he wished they had these years ago. Some people don't like to wear the bulky type PFD's.

My fishing partner Ron couldn't swim and owned a bass boat but was uncomfortable not wearing his PFD. You must wear a PFD when tournament bass fishing and I wonder if the guy missing at Okeechobee FLW event was wearing his? 

Tom

 

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Yeah , I can swim and it came in handy a couple of times .

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38 minutes ago, stk44 said:

It never hurts to learn to swim. I qualified class 1 and Q in the Marine Corps. That’s about 10 guys left in the pool out of a company of Marines. We were trained on various strokes for efficiency which definitely does not include freestyle or the butterfly swim. I would suggest you learn the same (breaststroke, sidestroke, backstroke, and how to tread water and float on your back.) you should hold each glide at the end of the stroke as long as possible. Learn the basics first then train on your own. The most important thing is wearing your pfd- the best swimmer cannnot swim while he is unconscious. 

 

53 minutes ago, WRB said:

Try swimming with your cloths on including shoes, you don't fall overboard in a swim suit.

Tom

These guys are spot on.  Let me say this.  I teach combat marksmanship.  There is a place in that training for standing in a row at a firing line on a sunny day slowly punching holes in cardboard...but not much of a place for that.  Soldiers and police officers need to practice in the worst possible, and most realistic, conditions.  You must think of your personal safety in all circumstances in such a manner.  You are a good swimmer?  That could be helpful.  How long can you tread water, though?  Minutes?  Hours?  You can stay calm, think clearly, and enact a plan that you formulated months or years ago after your boat ejects you, fully clothed, into cold, dirty water where you broke a couple bones upon landing?  If you can do that you have a better chance of surviving, even if you can't swim, than an Olympic swimmer who freaks out and doesn't have a plan.  

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I sink like a stone. Being the last of six kids I think my parents thought one of my brothers or sisters would teach me. But I've never had a fear of going out in a boat. Matter of fact, I've always loved it. It bewilders my family that I love being on a boat but can't swim. Also I admit to not wearing my PFD but that is because the only one I have is the Styrofoam horse collar type. Mandatory for regulations but impossible to fish while wearing. 

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7 minutes ago, BigAngus752 said:

 

These guys are spot on.  Let me say this.  I teach combat marksmanship.  There is a place in that training for standing in a row at a firing line on a sunny day slowly punching holes in cardboard...but not much of a place for that.  Soldiers and police officers need to practice in the worst possible, and most realistic, conditions.  You must think of your personal safety in all circumstances in such a manner.  You are a good swimmer?  That could be helpful.  How long can you tread water, though?  Minutes?  Hours?  You can stay calm, think clearly, and enact a plan that you formulated months or years ago after your boat ejects you, fully clothed, into cold, dirty water where you broke a couple bones upon landing?  If you can do that you have a better chance of surviving, even if you can't swim, than an Olympic swimmer who freaks out and doesn't have a plan.  

Well said.

 

Wear Crocs and socks and learn the jellyfish float. 

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I’m a pretty good swimmer, have been since I was a kid. I was a typical bass guy, life jacket on while running in tournaments, off while casting, almost never on when not in a tournament. Never had any close calls or anything but then I had a kid. Once he was a couple years old, he was in the boat with us all the time and obviously he always has worn a life jacket. When he was about 4, I got the “ why do I wear a life jacket but not you dad”?  It really made me think, if something ever happened, he’d be in a bad situation if he was floating around and his dad was at the bottom of the lake ( thinking the worse possibility here). I went right out and bought my first inflatable pfd, and I wear it constantly, with or without him in the boat now. Once you’ve worn them a time or two, you don’t even notice it on. I don’t know how anyone with kids onboard, good swimmer or not would go out without wearing one. And if you can’t swim, you need to seriously think about why your not using one. 

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I can but take appropriate precautions. Also, when wade fishing I only use waist waders as I think they they help me from making bad decision in deeper water.

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Not real well...................But I float good.

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On 1/6/2018 at 12:19 PM, DINK WHISPERER said:

So, can you? I've been thinking a lot about this topic lately as I've been venturing away from my shallow lakes into off shore bass fishing. I'm ashamed to admit that I'm not the greatest swimmer at all. I always wear my PFD with kill switch and am extra cautious on the water. Even considered taking some classes with my kids in the summer but am a bit embarrassed to do so. Your thoughts on the whole subject?

Going over the side is always a life threatening event; especially when the air & or water temps start to drop.

During the warmer months, most of us sort of laugh when we or a someone else goes in, but in the cold, it's no joke.

Having the ability to get back to your boat and then board it unassisted is crucial.   

If you strike an underwater object while on plane and your boat sudden slows or worse - stops, without any type of restraint, you are first going to strike whatever is in front of you (at the speed the boat was initially traveling) Then you may or may not go overboard.  There's a decent chance you'll have some type of injury as a result of that impact either way.  If you do go in, your life jacket may be the only thing keeping you from slipping below the surface - hopefully help can come to recover you.  Your ability to 'swim' in these scenarios isn't as important as having that life jacket on.  

 Going in the drink while fishing (not on plane) can be bad if you can't swim a lick; especially without a life jacket on.  

Having a boarding ladder (or knowing how to use your motor's trim) to get back on board is very beneficial too.  

If you've never tried to do any of this, though I hope you never really do for real) I'd encourage you to try it in a warm 'controlled' environment with at least one capable adult present.    You may find that pulling your soaking wet full clothed body up out of the water and onto the deck of a bass boat is challenging; even when not hypothermic and or physically injured. 

 Bottom line, IMO learning to swim is a solid plan, at least a little. 

Simulating the event and ensuring you're able to save yourself in the event the unthinkable happens, can't hurt either.

Sometimes there's nothing we can to - Bad stuff happens to good people all the time. However, many a 'strong swimmer' has tragically met their demise by not being prepare otherwise for an accident.

 

Stay Safe

A-Jay 

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I'm not really sure. I used to be able to swim. I haven't been in the water since I tore apart my shoulder. If I had to guess, I could probably stay afloat. No one is allowed in my boat that can't swim. Captains rules.

@WRB brings up a good point about swimming with your clothes on. It's why I fish naked most of the time.:D Seriously though, I do worry sometimes when fishing in the single digits and teens. I wear boots and Carhart bibs. I don't envision me surviving falling out of the boat with all that added weight. Clam makes a floatation parka and bibs for ice fishing that runs about $600 for both pieces. I've thought about getting them, just never pulled the trigger.

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