*Editor’s note: Today’s post was written by Brad Kleine. Brad is a Certified Athletic Trainer, Performance Enhancement Specialist and Certified Kinesio Tape Practitioner.
Those of us with the fishing bug are starting to think about getting out on the water. The thought of the blue gill and crappie spawn and the idea of the bass moving into shallow, sun-warmed water along the edge of our favorite lake or pond starts getting us excited and anxious for spring to fully arrive. We start to re-spool our reels, spend hours in the fishing aisles at the sporting goods stores looking at lures and new rods and wonder when it will be time to take the cover off of that boat to get it ready to get out on the water.
Most people don’t think about fishing and consider the possibility of injuries, but if you have ever had to climb into and out of a boat you’ll realize that the possibility is there. Few piers are at the same level as the boat you are stepping into. These levels can change with the level of water in a lake after a rain or after a long dry spell. Those with higher end fishing boats with decks that are only 2-3 inches lower than the edge of the boat have an advantage over those who fish from a john boat, but the possibility is still there with a large step in and out of the boat. This risk is increased with inclement weather causing boat motion from waves and water making surfaces slick to step on. Very few things can ruin your day faster than slipping and falling into your boat or the water. This can cause injury to both your body from the fall and your pride from the jokes made at your expense later.
Consider the surfaces in your boat and on the piers you step on to enter and exit your boat. Are these the type of surfaces that can get slippery when they get wet? Is there a large step to get from the pier to the deck of the boat? What can you do to help decrease the risk of injury if these conditions are present?
There are several options to make a surface less slippery. Many hardware stores carry adhesive non-slip strips that can be applied to your boat and pier. These strips feel like sandpaper and can dramatically improve your traction on a slippery surface. Some boat owners have opted to go with making the entire deck of their boat (non-carpeted) into a non-slip surface by sprinkling sand on the deck of the boat and applying a coat of paint over top of it. This secures the sand to the surface and increases traction on a larger area. It is recommended that you consult a qualified professional before attempting this on your own.
The large step in and out of your boat to the pier can be a little more difficult to make an easy accommodation for. Floating piers that will move with the level of the water are nice options but can be cost prohibitive. Short ladders are easy to install on piers with large level differences between the pier and boat deck.
Some easy exercises that can be performed to improve your mobility and make it easier to get in and out of the boat both at the pier and on the trailer are step ups. This exercise is performed by standing at the foot of a set of stairs and stepping up and down from the bottom stair. Step up and down from the bottom stair with your weight on your right foot 10-15 times. Perform the same exercise on the left leg. Repeat this set on each leg 2-3 times. Perform this exercise stepping up forward and sideways. This exercise can be progressed by increasing the repetitions, staying balanced on just the one leg or by stepping up and down from the next step up.
Forward Step Ups
Sideways Step Ups