Tips for Staying Safe on the Lake This Summer

Tips for Staying Safe on the Lake This Summer

Safe Boating(NC) — The Canadian summer provides us with the perfect setting to create lasting memories. The gorgeous weather and beautiful scenery have most Canadians determined to spend as much time outdoors as possible. One activity that many Canadians will partake in this summer is boating. While boating is a great summer activity, it is important to keep in mind the safety protocol. Boating accidents occur regularly in Canada and cause around 100 deaths annually.

Always wear your lifejacket or PFD while on or near the water. It could save your life.

Canada’s waters are cold year-round, so be prepared. Simply falling into cold water can cause cold water shock, which makes it difficult to catch your breath. If a person is not wearing a lifejacket, they have to fight to both control their breathing and keep their head above water. Many people drown just inches away from their boat or the shore.

Today’s lifejackets and personal flotation devices are stylish, comfortable and designed for specific activities such as paddling, fishing, high-impact sports and cruising. So, choose it and use it.

Be prepared.

Anything can happen on the water, so use this checklist to stay safe :

• Check all safety equipment before leaving the dock. If it’s not in good working condition, replace or fix it before you go.

• Check the most recent weather forecast.

• Give someone you trust a trip plan that includes where you are going and when you’ll be back.

• Bring local marine charts and ask local boaters about hazards, if you don’t know the area.

Take a boating safety course.

Understanding your responsibilities on the water and how to take basic safety precautions reduces your risk of a boating incident.

Anyone in Canada who operates a recreational boat with a motor must have proof of competency (except in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories waters). The Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) is the most common. You can get one by passing an accredited test with a Transport Canada approved course provider. It’s also good to carry:

• Proof you passed a boating safety course in Canada before April 1, 1999.

• A specified marine certificate.

• A completed rental-boat safety checklist.

Visitors to Canada operating a motorized boat must carry an operator card or equivalent that meets the requirements of their own state or country.

Have fun, but remember: a little preparation today can prevent a boating emergency tomorrow.

To stay informed visit the Transport Canada Office of Boating Safety website at