Friday Fishing Tips – Jeff Gross

by Jeff Gross, contributing writer

Fishing Tip 09/24/2021

As the Fall is here and the freshwater fishing is improving, here is an often overlooked matter on your boat, kayak, or canoe. Certain safety equipment is essential and mandatory.

Every Watercraft must have a life jacket onboard. However, in anything under 16 feet the boat will sink or capsize easily.  One cannot say “time out” while they put their life jacket on.  A life vest is the only RI DEM or USCG approved flotation device.

An often overlooked secondary item (though not approved) is the boat cushion. This cushion, up until the 1990s. was an acceptable USCG approved life preserver. Frankly, it still is. This cushion can be thrown to someone who has fallen over the side or somehow ended up in the water. These cushions will easily support 300 lbs as it supports this writer while snorkeling when a leg cramp erupts, and also serves as a staging area for artifacts found under water.

When a person goes over the side, or your kayak or canoe capsizes, it is difficult to focus on putting on a life jacket while you are immersed in water. This cushion, even if falls into the water, can be reached fairly easily. This writer is not saying the cushion replaces a life preserver, however, most people do not wear a preserver while canoeing or kayaking.

Another benefit of having one of these throw cushions in your boat or vessel is to actually use it to sit on. The author has a boney backside, and the extra cushion comes in handy while sitting on the aluminum seat of his Jon Boat. Most states require a signaling device that is easily seen. Many of these cushions come in Hunter Orange and can be seen for a mile, satisfying that requirement.

In a pinch, an Igloo cooler can save a life. Holding on to the handle will provide a temporary means to keep oneself afloat. Like a cushion, the cooler can also be thrown to a person in the water. Some food for thought if one ever gets into a “Man overboard” situation.

Editor’s Note: November is National Preparedness Month – when fishing, and out on the water, always be prepared!


Jeffrey “Jeff” Gross spent 21 years as an Analytical Chemist at the USCG R&D Center in Groton, Connecticut, Woods Hole Laboratories, and Helix Technologies. Changing careers is a “great learning experience for everyone”, Jeff says, and I’m an avid outdoorsman and conservationist, a student of the sciences, and the world. The US holds too many wonders not to take a chance and explore them”.

Jeff is the Model Train and Railroad entrepreneur. Proud Golden Retriever owner. Ultra strong Second Amendment Advocate and Constitutionalist. “Determined seeker of the truth”. 

Jeff is a RIFGPA Legislative and Legal Officer, Freshwater Chairman, NRA Liaison.

His subjects include Outdoors, Second Amendment, Model Railroading, and Whimsical.

He can be reached at:

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