Virginia Hunter Safety Course


Watercraft Safety Rules

Observe and Respect Zones of Fire in a Watercraft

When hunting from watercraft, it is crucial that you observe and respect zones of fire. This zone is always in front of the shooter. If there are two hunters and both are hunting, they should be sitting back to back.

If only one member of a group is hunting, that hunter should sit at the front of the watercraft. The others should sit at the rear to control the speed and direction of the watercraft. Consult local laws for regulations regarding the use of a watercraft while hunting.

Pack Appropriate Clothing

Ensure that you pack specialized clothing to keep you warm and dry.

Tie Down Equipment in the Watercraft

This is an extra precaution for when you expect to encounter rough waters. Your equipment will not be thrown overboard or lost if the watercraft capsizes.

Exit All Watercraft Safely

If you are alone, exit the watercraft and secure the landing first, then retrieve all firearms and hunting gear. For groups, one hunter should exit first and steady the watercraft for others on board. Always use 3 points of contact and keep your body low. Once the watercraft is secured, all firearms and hunting gear can be retrieved.

Know What to do if Your Watercraft Capsizes

If your watercraft capsizes, stay with it. Most will remain buoyant even when full of water. If you have a whistle connected to your Personal Flotation Device, use it to signal another person. If you are planning on hunting on or around water, you owe it to yourself to learn how to swim - it could save your life. If you are not very far from shore, slowly make your way back to shore. Get warm and dry fast.

SAFETY FIRST! Before hunting from a watercraft, attend an approved boater safety course prior to the hunting season. Visit for more information.