With the start of the river coarse fishing season starting next week, anglers are being warned to take extra care near power lines.
As fishing enthusiasts head for the lakes, rivers and canals to enjoy the start of the coarse fishing season from June 15, UK Power Networks, which owns and operates power lines across the South East, London and East of England, is reminding them of some pitfalls to watch out for.
Anglers are using increasingly long modern carbon fibre fishing poles, which may be factors in some accidents.
They are advised to keep a safe distance – at least 30 metres – from overhead lines as it is extremely dangerous for any angling equipment to come in to contact with overhead power lines.
Peter Vujanic, UK Power Networks Head of Health and Safety, said: “When anglers are focused on their sport, they may not remember to look out for electricity cables but they are at risk of serious burns, or even death, if either their fishing rod or line comes into contact with an overhead line.
“Our message is always ‘look out and look up’. Very simply, be aware of the environment you are in. If you’re near an overhead line, take extra care and move further away. Electricity can jump across gaps – just like lightning – and it can kill you.
“We also advise anglers to take their rods apart before moving from one place to another and to carry them parallel to the ground.”
The company provides fishing clubs with “Look Out, Look Up” safety signs. Its health and safety team will also walk the route of a waterway with other organisations and angling club representatives to identify dangers posed by overhead lines and erect new safety signs.
The team also gives regular demonstrations at events such as county shows to spread the safety message.
UK Power Networks has published detailed guidance for anglers on how to stay safe near overhead power lines in the form of downloadable leaflets. Click here to see the angling help sheet.