Dr Deborah Mills has prepared a series of articles on healthy fishing exclusively for Fishing Cairns. Deborah is the author of the book, Travelling Well, and director of Dr Deb The Travel Doctor travel medicine clinics in Brisbane.

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In Queensland the laws for drinking while in control of a vessel are very clear – the skipper must have a blood alcohol limit of less than 0.05, the same rules as on the road – and this law can even apply when the vessel is not under way.

The skipper is also responsible for the safety of the passengers and should be responsible for their alcohol consumption. The effects of alcohol are enhanced while on the water due to the sun, wind, waves and constant motion. Reflexes and response times to emergencies are slowed and swimming ability deteriorates considerably.

Skippers of recreational boats should also be aware that, when their boat is anchored, it may still be considered to be used for navigation, and the blood alcohol limit applies. The limit does not change unless the boat is securely moored in a marina, to a jetty or wharf or on a swing mooring.

If you are planning on having a few beers while you’re out enjoying our local waters, visit the RUPissed Online Breathalyser to figure how much you can drink to stay under the legal limit.

Protecting Your Eyes – Polarised Sunglasses

As well as providing physical protection to fishermen from getting a hook in your eye, and reducing the discomfort of glare from the water (which can also be very damaging to your eyes), wearing polarised sunglasses while fishing improves below surface visibility. When fishing, the reflections coming off the surface of bodies of water also contain images of objects, clouds and scenery above the water, make it impossible to see objects below the water.

Polarising sunglasses block these reflections and hence objects below the water – like fish – become visible to the wearers of polarised sunglasses since virtually all of the reflections from the water surface are vibrating horizontally and are blocked by the vertically aligned polarising filters in the sunglasses.

This improved visibility also assists boaties in spotting underwater hazards like rocks and sand bars which would otherwise have been unseen due to the glare and reflections coming off the surface of the water.

Maximum polarisation of the surface reflections from water occur when the sun is between 30 degrees and 60 degress above the horizon. If the sun is very low or very high polarised sunglasses will not be as effective in limiting the glare from calm water.

When the sea is ruffled, the sun reflections become the familiar glitter of shimmering water stretching towards the sun. Because different parts of the glitter are reflected from different wave slopes, the angle of polarisation varies significantly.

In these conditions polarised sunglasses will also help with glare reduction for higher or lower suns angles than would be the case for calm water.

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