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An angler fishing on rocks at sunset in Lochinver


We love angling! Around 1M people around the UK coast are already hooked. And while it’s almost impossible to predict your next catch, it can be even harder to predict the sea. Here’s our advice to help you plan your next trip safely
An angler wearing a lifejacket while fishing on the rocks

Your own lifesaver

Angling is the perfect opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy the coast – but, if you’re not properly prepared, things can go wrong.

Between 2011 and 2015, 50 anglers lost their lives while fishing around the UK coast*. Sadly, expert evidence suggests that many of those lives might have been saved if the anglers had been wearing lifejackets.

If you’re in the sea and you’re wearing a lifejacket, you’re four times more likely to survive**. Read our guide to lifejackets to find the best style for you.

*RNLI analysis of WAID UK fatalities accidental and natural causes only 2011-15 coastal dataset

**Professor Mike Tipton 2012

Why should I wear a lifejacket when angling?

Photographer, writer and ‘fishing junkie’ Henry Gilbey came to the RNLI College in Poole, Dorset, to find out how useful a lifejacket really is for anglers. As Henry admits in our video, he had never worn a lifejacket while out fishing before. Watch what happens when he puts one to the test.

'It's never going to happen to me'

‘Surely I don’t need a lifejacket if I’ve got a flotation suit?’ ‘Won’t my waders help me float?’ Watch our short video series unpicking the common myths about wearing a lifejacket. Featuring real anglers and real scenarios, we’ll show you what really happens when your equipment hits the water – the results may surprise you.

"If you don't wear a lifejacket you're as good as dead"

Colm Plunkett chose to wear his lifejacket while angling – a decision that ultimately saved his life. While fishing at Dursey in Co Cork in August 2015, he was swept from the rocks and into the sea. Watch his story.

How to call for help

Even when angling close to the shore, life-threatening incidents can happen at any time. So it's important that you carry a means of calling for help and keep it on you at all times. Watch our video with angling enthusiast Henry Gilbey, who asks the all-important questions against a range of devices.

Whichever devices you choose to call for help, you must be able to reach it easily in an emergency. We recommend that you use more than one device - don't rely on a single method of calling for help.

Calling for help - equipment

In the infographics below, you will find information on the equipment you should have on you when you are angling. You will find details on VHF/DSC radios, Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs), trackers, and also how to protect your mobile phone to ensure that, if you do fall in the water, you can still use it.

Angling from a boat

In 2016 alone, our lifeboat volunteers rescued 923 anglers from vessels. Boat leaks and swamping can be a major cause of serious incidents. Watch our short video, and in the next 3 minutes you could learn how to make some simple checks before setting out on your next trip. They could save your life.

Always check the weather conditions and sea forecast before heading out.

Always check the weather conditions and sea forecast before heading out

Weather and tides

Don’t let the weather spoil your day. Always check the weather forecast and sea conditions before you set off. Get regular updates if you’re planning to be out for any length of time. And be prepared to change your plans or cancel the trip if the forecast is unfavourable.

Check the weather

Met Office  - inshore waters forecast

As well as providing an inshore waters forecast, the RYA SafeTrx app tracks your voyages and alerts emergency contacts if you fail to return home on time.

Check the tides

Admiralty EasyTide – the UK government’s tidal prediction service.

7 UK angling fatalities in 2017 

10 lives saved by our crews from angling incidents in 2017

24 lifeboats launched to anglers from the shore in 2021

78 lifeboats launched to anglers from a boat in 2021

A boating safety advice session from the RNLI

RNLI/Nathan Williams

A boating safety advice session from the RNLI

What we can do for you

We will always do our best to get to you if you find yourself in trouble near the water. But we can help in other ways too – from our useful safety advice to our club presentations which provide practical, one-on-one advice to you and your angling club.