If you’re like most people you haven’t given wet weather gear much thought other than putting it on when it’s raining, in rough weather or working on a fishing vessel.
Unfortunately, not thinking about it has resulted in minor to critical injuries and in some cases loss of life!
When considering your wet weather gear there are some specific factors you should take into account including the type, quality, material, size and where you operate.
Let’s work backwards and look at where you operate, if you work in cold climates then you need gear that has a thermal lining to help keep you warm. Working in the tropics you’d look for more lightweight breathable gear. That’s easy!
I’ll skip size for now and go to material where you can get really cheap nylon type gear that usually lasts for a few days then rips. The next step up is a heavier grade material that many use and is much better than the cheap nylon type.
As far as quality and material go and if you want the good gear you need wet weather gear that has been specifically manufactured for use at sea. I always went for Burke gear, yes it’s a bit expensive but it lasts for years especially when working on fishing vessels.
Now, onto size and yes in this case size does matter. Too large and it can flap about with the potential of getting caught in winches and other things which can led to serious injuries.
Too small and it’ll restrict your movement which can cause issues as well so…as far as size is concerned you need to ensure your wet weather gear fits comfortably and is not too big.
Gum boot, one of my favourite subjects when it comes to wet weather gear! Too big they are cumbersome and can making working difficult. Too small and you end up with cramps and sores which can led to health issues so…make sure they’re a good fit. Check out our tip for gum boots!
Now we come to the type of wet weather gear you choose and…this is an important issue as you’ll see.
The main types out there are the pants type or bib & brace for your lower half then there’s a multitude of jackets to choose from.
There’s also the all-in-one or waders as they’re know which are great for keeping you dry especially if you’re a fly or lure fisherman.
I have to admit that for working onboard boats I’m not so keen as they have been either directly or indirectly attributable for minor to serious incidents including loss of life.
Think about what happens when you fall overboard and they fill with water, you’ll be near impossible to lift out of the water! I’ve had personal experience here with a deckhand that fell overboard when we were on our mooring.
He fell over the stern in a fast current and his waders filled with water and the next thing he was a good 100mtrs from the boat and having trouble staying afloat! While we were quick to save him if we weren’t there to rescue him he would have most likely drowned!
When buying wet weather gear make sure you think about where you’re going to be wearing it such as in the cold south or up in the tropics. Make sure it fits snugly and is not too loose or too tight but with boots take into account my tip below. It’s as simple as that!
About gum boots, our tip is when buying a pair make sure you go for quality and ½ to 1 size larger than a perfect fit. Why? Because if you fall overboard they are easy to get off and…did you know they make a great buoyant device.
Take them off, lift them out of the water and tip the water out then turn them upside down and push them into the water. Now you’ve got something to keep you afloat until rescue arrives!
Try doing that with waders!