Safe Boating Awareness Week – May 18-24

By Jessica King

May 13, 2024

Safe Boating Awareness Week is May 18-24, 2024, and at, we’re eager to boost public awareness about boating safety. Please consider in enrolling in a boating safety course and obtain your Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC).

In addition to obtaining your PCOC, consider these Boating Safety Tips:

1. Always Wear Your Lifejacket: Regardless of your swimming skills or reflex speed, wearing a life jacket on board is crucial. Over 80% of drowning incidents in Canada involve individuals not wearing a lifejacket. Select a lifejacket that fits well and is suitable for your boating activities. In addition, Canada’s cold waters can severely impair your ability to swim, even the most experienced swimmers. To safeguard against the risks associated with  cold water immersion, wearing a lifejacket is crucial. 

2. Boat Sober, Do NOT Boat Under the Influence: Operating a boat under the influence of alcohol, prescription drugs, or cannabis is not only dangerous but also illegal. Impaired boating is responsible for one-third of all boating-related fatalities. Always ensure you are sober when boating to maintain safety and legality. 

3. Prepare Yourself and Your Vessel with Proper Safety Equipment: Ensure that both you and your boat are thoroughly prepared for your planned activities. This preparation involves being knowledgeable about your route, checking the weather to ensure it’s favorable for your journey, and ensuring your boat is equipped with essential safety gear such as fire extinguishers, lights, flares, bailers, sound signals, navigation aids, and flags. Regularly inspect the condition and expiration dates of all equipment, and utilize any safety features like an engine cut-off device. 

4. Follow the Laws and Enroll in a Boating Course: To ensure safe and legal boating, familiarize yourself with the relevant laws by taking a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) course. Anyone operating a powered recreational vessel must hold a PCOC or equivalent proof of competency. Enhance your skills with further courses, especially if paddle boating interests you. Check Transport Canada’s website for the latest regulations.

How to get a replacement PCOC?

Refresh your safety knowledge this spring and remind your passengers of these best practices. While we highlight safety this week, adhering to these guidelines ensures safe boating for all throughout the year.