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Water safety for anglers

Thousands of people enjoy fishing along our waterways all year round, rain or shine. When preparing for a day of fishing, it’s important to make sure you’ve considered how to stay safe next to the water.

Canal ice fishing

Safety tips for anglers

  • Check the weather forecast and weather conditions before you go fishing
  • Let someone know where you are going to fish
  • Know exactly where you are – consider something like an OS locate app for a smart phone or a map
  • Give friends or partners an idea of when you are likely to return
  • Take a fully charged mobile phone and check signal strength, know how to use it and who to call in an emergency
  • Double check your fishing spot. Is it safe? For example, riverbanks can erode and just because it was safe one day doesn't mean that it still is
  • Dress appropriately - sturdy footwear, sun hat in hot weather and warm layers in cold
  • Take a change of clothes or blanket in case you fall in
  • Although it looks shallow, don't wade in the canal. The silt can be deeper than you think
  • Always take a landing net with you – you don't want to lift out your catch by hand and fall in
  • Take hand sanitiser to use before you eat – remember the risk of Weil's disease

Fishing on a canal

Most of our canals are ideal fishing locations and are as safe as any fishery can be. It makes them great places to learn to fish or for young people to fish in safety. There is virtually always a flat level area close to the water's edge that can safely accommodate the angler's box.

The majority of our narrow canals have shallow water near the edge with perhaps 60cm depth in the margins and maybe 1.5 metres in the central channel. Some of the ship canals such as the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal and Aire & Calder Navigation are much deeper so take extra care when fishing on these waterways.

Last Edited: 31 May 2024

photo of a location on the canals
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