Safe, responsible operation is a key ingredient for enjoyable boating. The right safety equipment provides peace of mind and it may even save a life. There may be additional items you will want to take depending on your vessel, type of activities and environment. Go prepared. Make sure your equipment is easily accessible and can be operated by everyone on board.
Safety is a shared responsibility.
Recreational boaters must take an active role in ensuring our waterways are safer for everyone. A boating safety course makes sense. Educating yourself on your craft and its limits, the nautical rules of the road and safe boating techniques will improve safety on the waterways.
Save a life, wear yourflotation device.
Every year more than 600 lives are lost due to drowning. According to the Canadian Red Cross, 70 per cent of boaters who drowned were not wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) or lifejacket. If they had, many of these fatalities could have been avoided. The Canadian Coast Guard strongly urges boaters to wear their PFD or lifejacket at all times. It's simple - it's your life, preserve it.
Don't cruise with booze.
At least 40 per cent of all power-boating fatality victims had a blood alcohol level above the legal driving limit. Mixing alcohol and boating is far more dangerous than most people realize. Fatigue, sun, wind and the motion of the boat dull the senses and alcohol intensifies these effects. Booze and boats simply don't mix. Operating a vessel while impaired is illegal and an offence under the Criminal Code. Convictions, even for a first offence, can result in heavy punishment.
Kayakers - make sure you're seen on the water.
Even in bright, calm conditions a kayak can be invisible to other boaters. It's especially difficult for powerboats and large vessels riding high in the water to see kayaks. Remember, even if you can see other boats, they may not be able to see you. Make sure that you are well seen and heard. The colour of your kayak and your PFD or lifejacket can play an important role. Yellow, orange and red are the colours that are the most visible on water. Take precautions and keep signalling devices within hand's reach.
Learn to swim.
The best thing anyone can do to stay safe in and around the water is to learn to swim. This includes anyone participating in any boating activity. The Canadian Red Cross has swimming courses for people of any age and swimming ability. To enroll in a swim course, contact your local Red Cross chapter.