June 9, 2017
Tips for Safe Boating this Summer
With summer in full swing, most everyone is planning to have a great time with family and friends. One of the best Canadian pastimes is spending time on the lake in a boat. Here are three tips to help you and your loved ones stay safe on the water and have a fantastic summer.
1. Be Prepared
One of the most important parts of boat safety takes place before you leave the dock. Be prepared before setting sail. Have both the necessary supplies and knowledge to be safe at all times while boating:
● Have a pre-departure checklist to ensure preparedness
● Make sure you are familiar with local waters
● Always have a plan to return to shore if necessary
● Know the forecast for the day
● Exercise common sense while operating the boat
2. Carry Required Equipment
A crucial part of boating safety is to leave the dock prepared. Canadian law requires that we have certain items on board when setting out to sail:
● Noise horn (or other sound device) to attract attention
● At least 15 meters of buoyant heaving line
● Bailer or manual water pump
● Life vest for everyone on board
● Paddle or an anchor with at least 15 meters of rope, chain, or cable
● Type A, B, or C certified flares
● Class 5 BC fire extinguisher
These items are important to uphold the law and to protect yourself and passengers in case of emergency. Other items boaters are encouraged to bring are a first aid kit, sunscreen, water, food, matches, and extra clothing to protect yourself from the sun.
3. Don’t Boat Drunk
37% of boaters admit to alcohol being present while they’re on the water. Steering or driving a boat under the influence of alcohol is just as illegal as driving a car while drunk. Alcohol can have a severely impairing effect on a person’s ability to steer safely away from hazards or operate controls. This endangers everyone in or around the boat.
Some key ways alcohol impairs/endangers boaters are:
● Diminishes judgment and processing speed
● Reduces motor skills, peripheral vision, and balance
● Slows response time
● Reduces depth perception
● Accelerates hypothermia in cold water
Avoiding alcohol while manning any watercraft is one of the most effective ways to improve the safety of everyone on the water.