Whilst out on the water your safety is always the highest point on your priority list, other than catching fish, right? But when accidents occur your waders may only be your only chance of surviving! Keeping safe and catching fish, right?
There is much speculation over the safety of chest waders, fishermen have many different theories to what happens to them when they fall in the water whilst wearing them. I for one think waders are your best friend when out on the bank or after an accidental slip!
One important thing to know is that if you fall unexpectedly into a river or lake, your waders will fill with water but will not drag you down. Your weight in waders, even when full of water will be the same of the water around you. Water isn’t heavier than water. The only thing that may add to your weight is wearing several layers of clothing.
Your goal is to get out of the water safely without any injury. If falling into running water is your main worry, just lay on your back and assume the armchair position with your feet facing downstream, this will prevent any injury from rocks or trees and keep the air inside your waders. This way you can also see where your heading and if there’s any slacks or exit points ahead.
Still-water would seem easier to negotiate if the dreaded happens, swimming is easier as there is no flow to compete against and the shore or boat won’t be too far away. Hopefully other anglers will come to your assistance, but keep your cool and gently make your way back to your the pontoon.
Secondly, anglers think if you were to unexpectedly fall into a lake, your waders will fill up with air instead of water and flip you upside down, legs in the air and head down. Kind of like a swan searching for food! This, however, has been tested in pools from jumping head first off a platform and even though waders do fill up with air, the person is quickly righted and lies flat on the water. Again, keep your legs up and lay on your back and the excess air will push out relieving itself.
One great addition to your waders would be a wading belt, not only does it make you look a lot better but prevents water from rushing down your legs if you fall in. It also traps air to help float. A Wading staff is also a great help when crossing a fast or deep pool, coloured water can impair an anglers vision and that one rock may cause a slip! That may swing you next time you visit your local fishing tackle shop.
Waders, however, should never be even contemplated as a replacement for a lifevest or inflatable jacket.