One of the best times to get out on the water fishing is when the sun is about to rise or rising. As an avid angler and former captain, I fished most often during sunrise. Importantly, sunrise fishing is excellent in both fresh and saltwater. However, when you’re fishing by boat, it is important to remain safe. Here are ways to stay safe while fishing at dawn from a boat. Take it from me, ive done it hundreds of times. 

Why Dawn Fishing By Boat Is Dangerous

No matter the time of day, you always need to remain cautious while on the water. However, the dangerr is higher at dawn because of the reduced visibility and angle of the sun. 

Boating In The Dark

Without question, operating a vessel in complete darkness is the most challenging compared to bright sunny days. Importantly, it is extremely difficult to determine distances while driving before the sun has risen. 

Furthermore, spotting floating debris, rocks, and other fixed objects is no easy task. For this reason, it is imperative to slow your speeds while operating at night.

Sun Angles At Sunrise

Another difficult aspect of navigation during dawn is the angles of the sun. The sun, as it rises over the water, can be directly central to your line of sight if you’re moving east. 

With that being said, the sun as it rises can lead boaters to operate blindly while heading out to fishing spots. 

Additionally, other vessels can be obscured by the sun, causing you to come rapidly within close distance. Keep a sharp lookout and reduce your speed if you can’t see the waters ahead. 

Location Objects

Bodies of water, including coastal waterways, lakes, rivers, and more, are subject to being filled with objects that must be avoided. 

Fortunately, as a boater, I have never hit a hard object at a high rate of speed. However, it does happen more often than you think. 

Remember, at dawn, you’re navigating in a multitude of light conditions from darkness to full daylight sun. That being said, your eyes are constantly adjusting to the current amount of lighting available. Remember to keep a sharp lookout and ask for assistance from a friend or family member aboard the boat. 

Fishing At Dawn By Boat Tips To Remain Safe

In the event you’re planning on fishing by boat at dawn, it is important to remember key safety tips. Take it from me: I have extensive knowledge of boating in the dark and at dawn. 

Adjust Your Electronics To The Current Light Conditions

Yes, the brightness of an electronics screen at the helm of a boat can be adjusted. Always avoid turning up the brightness when the sun has not yet risen. Not only will the screen be a distraction, but your eyes will fail to become adjust. 

With that said, dial down the illumination of the screen so that you your eyes remain able to see off in the distance before sunrise. 

Slow Down

We all want to get to our fishing destination as quickly as possible, but that doesn’t mean you need to put your life and your passenger’s lives at risk. 

For this reason, it is imperative to reduce your speed in the dark or when you encounter blinding sun. 

Colliding with a fixed object, floating debris, or another vessel can quickly turn deadly. The best way to avoid serious injurious or death is to slow your speed. Arriving a few minutes late likely won’t make or break your day of fishing. 

Use Your Boats Lighting

Remember, watercraft are outfitted with lights, and they should be used appropriately. For the most part, boats will have to different lighting options. The first is navigation lighting and the second is anchor lighting. A toggle switch allows you to select between the two. 

In the situation when you’re operating before sunrise and the boats in motion, flip on the navigation lights.  The port and starboard lights will illuminate on the bow along with an elevated all around white light. 

Importantly, the red and green lights on the bow will help other boaters track your movement through the water and make a more informed passing decision. Running with your lights on in the dark will reduce the risk of collision. 

Furthermore, when you’re at anchor, make sure to adjust the rocker switch to the anchor setting. The bow lights will turn off, and the all-around white light will remain illuminated. Importantly, you’re going to want to be seen if you’re anchored out fishing before dawn. 

Boat Safely While Fishing At Dawn

Again, I have had the opportunity to fish at dawn both recreationally and while working aboard yachts. Take all necessary safety precautions to stay safe. The last thing you want is to strike an object or another vessel. One of the biggest benefits of fishing at dawn is the fact that you can be back home by lunch.