Safe Boating Awareness Week, are you prepared?
This week is Safe Boating Awareness Week (May 20-26, 2022), and at CanadaBoatSafety.com we would like to encourage public awareness of boating safety. One way to start is to take a boating safety course and earn your Pleasure Craft Operator Card (aka Boating License).
In addition to getting your Pleasure Craft Operator Card, here are our Top 10 Boating Safety Tips:
- 1. Wear a Life Jacket – Even if you are a strong swimmer with quick reflexes, it’s a great idea always to wear your life jacket when on your boat. Choose one that fits properly and is designed for your activity. A PFD that flips you on your back and keeps your head above water is ideal.
- 2. Don’t Boat Under the Influence – Any substance that impairs your ability to focus on boating should be avoided, including alcohol, prescription drugs, or other drugs (legal or illegal). Boaters under the influence cause one-third of all boating fatalities.
- 3. Carry Proper Safety Equipment – Fire extinguishers, lights, flares, bailers, sound signals, navigation aids, and flags are essential for keeping you safe in an emergency. Check equipment conditions and expiration dates before you head out. If your boat is equipped with an engine cut-off device or switch, you must use it.
- 4. Don’t Overload Your Boat – Your vessel’s capacity plate will advise the recommended weight of passengers and gear. Make sure you load it evenly to keep the boat stable and prevent capsizing.
- 5. File a Float Plan – Let someone know your boating plans and when you will return. Have a plan to check in if your route changes and when they should call for assistance. Know how to use VHF radios, emergency locator beacons, satellite phones, and cell phones to call for help.
- 6. Check the Weather – Before and during your trip, keep track of storms that may head into the area. Head toward shore or shelter if the skies start to turn ominous. Take an extra set of clothes in case you get wet. Bring rain gear and sun protection.
- 7. Stay Focused – Conditions on the water can change in an instant. Stay alert and pay attention to your actions and the actions of other boaters, anglers, and divers.
- 8. Slower is Safer – Follow posted speed signs, and slow down when it’s congested, near wildlife areas, where people are fishing or diving, and when docking.
- 9. Know Navigation Rules – The PCOC course will teach you the “Rules of the Road,” including how to signal or pass other vessels. Don’t assume the other vessels will follow the rules and be prepared to compensate.
- 10. Obey the Laws – The PCOC course will go over boating laws in various circumstances, but head to Transport Canada’s website to see the latest rules and regulations. Pay attention and follow any law enforcement instructions.
Get ready for the summer boating season by refreshing yourself and your passengers on safe boating practices. While we draw attention to safety this week, following these guidelines will protect you all year long.