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Common Fishing Injuries and How to Prevent Them

Common Fishing Injuries and How to Prevent Them

Fishing is a huge part of the culture in Texas. Many do it for leisure or relaxation, others do it as a means of income. The majority see it as a calming recreational activity, but that doesn’t mean that you should skip the safety precautions. You might end up injuring yourself if you aren’t careful.

Let’s go over some of the common fishing injuries and what you can do to keep yourself safe.  

Slip and Fall Injuries

Two of the most common fishing injuries are slipping and falling. Being near the water – whether your shoes are wet or you’re on a wet dock – can cause a slipping hazard. You may fall hard and may end up seriously injuring yourself. Falling can lead to broken bones, fractures, and dislocations as well as other minor injuries.

Prevention Tips

To avoid slipping and falling while fishing, it’s important to wear the proper gear. Wear non-slip shoes, and if you spot water, oil, or other slippery materials on the deck, be sure to clean it up immediately.

Injuries from Equipment

If not used properly, many fishing tools and other equipment could be dangerous. Whether you fish for leisure or you make a living from commercial fishing, some of the most common injuries are due to contact with fishing equipment. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that fishing equipment are responsible for 33% of fishing injuries in a 6-year timeframe.

Fish hook injuries can cause tissue trauma and may lead to serious infections that require antibiotics to treat.

According to the U.S Coast Guard, boat propellers cause about 200 to 250 injuries. They estimate that between 25 and 45 annual deaths occur yearly because of propellor injuries.

Prevention Tips

Be extra cautious around boat propellers and fishing equipment. Put away fishhooks, knives, and other tools after each use. Also, be sure to clean up your work area once you are done fishing to avoid the risk of injury.

Treating any cuts and scrapes immediately with antibacterial ointment can help prevent infections.


We don’t normally think of sunburn as being particularly dangerous, but we should. Ranging from mild to blistering, sunburn can hurt you in different ways, and the danger goes far beyond the usual redness, pain, and discomfort. Aside from increasing your risk for skin cancer, sunburn can accelerate skin aging.

The skin may blister when exposed to too much sun for long periods of time. These blisters can open up and may become extremely uncomfortable. Plus, they can leave your skin exposed to infection.

Prevention Tips

Sunburn is one of the easiest fishing injuries to prevent. Covering up will give you a barrier of protection against the sun’s harmful rays. Wear a hat and keep your body adequately covered with long sleeves and pants. The more skin you cover, the better!

Sunscreens come in a wide variety of delivery methods and formulations. Be sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more and be sure to use it exactly as directed.

Overuse Injuries

Overuse injuries are extremely common. Those who fish use repetitive arm motions, which can lead to strained muscles and injuries, including ligament tears, rotator cuff tendinitis, or tennis elbow. While these injuries are commonly associated with athletes, it’s important to know that they can happen to fishers too.

Prevention Tips

Overuse injuries typically stem from a lack of flexibility and physical fitness. Regularly stretching and working out can help strengthen your muscles.

When to Go to the ER

Remember that even the smallest injuries can have serious consequences if not treated properly.

If you get injured while fishing, it’s important to wash the area with clean water. If your injury didn’t break the skin, you can skip this step. Monitor the injury closely, and if you feel extreme discomfort or the wound shows signs of an infection, it’s time to visit your local emergency room. Giving your doctor a call or stopping by an emergency room can mean the difference between a minor malady and a serious, life-threatening injury.

If you recently suffered from a fishing injury and need an ER in Corpus Christi, don’t delay. Visit us at Physicians Premier for fast, compassionate care.


“Facts of the Catch: Occupational Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities to Fishing Workers, 2003–2009 : Beyond the Numbers.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,

“Understanding the Dangers of Propellor Strikes.” United States Coast Guard, United States Coast Guard,

Donald M. McKinstry, PhD. “Catfish stings in the United States: Case Report and Review”. Journal of Wilderness Medicine 4, 293-303 (1993)