Valley fisherman has run-in with rattlesnake on boat

PHOENIX (FOX 10) - When thinking about boat safety, the first thing that comes to mind is probably not anything regarding snakes. Well, after seeing this next story, you might want to double check your boat before heading out on the water.

We've had some type of snake story it seems almost every day, so it just shows you they're out and about. Many people are getting bit or seeing rattlesnakes on the trails, but finding one on your boat - that's a new one.

"[We] went back into a cove in the southern part of the lake," said Mark Dalton. "[I] was probably there for about half an hour when I went to the front of the boat, then went back to change one of my lures and had a big surprise."

That big surprise was a 5-foot western diamondback rattlesnake. It was the unwelcome guest on Mark Dalton's boat. He was at Roosevelt Lake fishing when he found the snake. Once he noticed it, he grabbed his fishing net to try and safely get it off of the boat.

"[I] just wanted to be able to push him out of the boat and not really hurt him or irritate him too much because he looked like he just came out of the water because it was wet back there and he was sunning himself to get dry," Dalton said.

Dalton says that luckily the snake wasn't aggressive and did eventually slither back into the water. Arizona Game and Fish says although unlikely, rattlesnakes do swim, so aside from wearing your life vest and staying sober, you also need to look out for snakes.

"What he was doing was carefully looking around while he was doing things," said Amy Burnett with Arizona Game and Fish. "If he had not looked where he put his hand, that could have been [an entirely] different situation. These are things we don't think about on a boat as much as we go on the golf course, but in all cases, we live in the desert, and there are snakes in unexpected places."

If this does happen to you, you're advised to stay calm and try to stay calm and try to stay as far away from the snake as possible. Dalton says he'll now be checking his boat before heading out on the water from here on out and while he's on the boat, he'll be more aware of his surroundings.