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Taking to the Water This Weekend? Play It Safe

June 28, 2011 7:08 AM | News

With the Canada Day long weekend fast approaching, BOATsmart! is reminding Canadians to be safe on the water.

The Transport Canada-regulated Canadian Safe Boating Council reports 133 people died last year in boating-related accidents. Six-thousand people suffered non-fatal injuries in the same year.

The National Drowning Trends Report says alcohol was involved in 38 percent of all boating deaths, 44 percent of recreational power boating deaths and 43 percent of canoeing deaths.

Transport Canada issues fines of $250 for operating a vessel in a careless manner, $100 for speeding, $100 for underage operation, $250 for operating a power-driven watercraft without a Pleasure Craft Operator Card, and $200 for each absent floatation device for the number of people on board.

BOATsmart! is urging Canadians to ensure they are armed with the knowledge required to keep themselves and their family safe, as well as avoid fines from what sure is to be an increased police presence on the water this weekend.

Top 5 Boating Safety Tips

1. Wear a Life Jacket – It’s simple. Wearing a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) greatly reduces your risk of drowning. Ninety percent of people who drown while boating are not wearing a life jacket.  Having them on board is not enough; life jackets don’t work unless you wear them! So be sure that everyone on board is wearing an approved PFD before heading out on the water.

2. Don’t Drink and Boat – Alcohol and boating don’t mix – ever. So keep the water on the water and the beer on the pier.

3. Be Prepared – Make sure your boat, safety equipment and passengers are prepared for a safe day on the water. Check your local weather before heading out and leave extra gas in the tank for a safe trip home.

4. Get Your Boating License – All operators of motorized vessels require a Pleasure Craft Operator Card. Test your knowledge, learn boating safety skills and take your exam with BOATsmart! Canada. Your passengers will be at ease knowing you are qualified to drive them around the waterways.

5. Take a Boating Course – Both novice and experienced boaters can benefit from taking a BOATsmart! course. From emergency preparedness to right-of-way rules, you’ll learn everything you need to boat with confidence.