(NC) — Boating is one of the most popular summer activities in Canada. Whether at the cottage or planning a trip out with family or friends, it is important to keep in mind the safety procedures involved in a successful day on the water. Each year there are around 100 boating related fatalities in Canada. Here are some safety tips that will help ensure a safe and fun day out on the boat:
• Always wear your lifejacket or PFD while on or near the water.
• Take a boating safety course. Learn the basics of boating safety and understand the “Rules of the Road.” If operating a motorized boat, get a Pleasure Craft Operator Card or another approved form of operator competency. It’s the law. Remember to bring your proof of competency with you on board.
• Be prepared. Check that you have all required safety equipment onboard, that it works well and is within easy reach. If you find missing or broken equipment, fix or replace it before you go.
• Make sure that your boat, if powered by a motor of 7.5 kW (10 hp) or more, has a pleasure craft licence. This licence is free and is good for 10 years. In an emergency, Search and Rescue personnel can use this number to access information about your boat 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
• Check local weather forecasts and be ready to change your plans if the weather turns bad.
• Know the waterway. Reefs, stumps, rocks, changing water levels and sandbars are some hazards you need to know about. Carry local marine charts, if available, or ask someone who knows the waterway well, about any hidden hazards.
• Give someone you trust a sail plan that includes where you are going and when you will be back.
• Check your fuel supply. Remember the rule: 1/3 to go, 1/3 to return and 1/3 in reserve.
• Follow the guidelines for weight and passenger limits listed on its compliance label.
• Always wear a Canadian-approved lifejacket while boating. It could save your life. Make sure it fits properly and that all buckets, straps, zippers and fabric are in good condition.
• Stay sober. In Canada, operating a boat while impaired is dangerous and illegal.
Have fun, but remember: a little preparation today can prevent a boating emergency tomorrow. To learn more, please visit the Transport Canada Office of Boating Safety website at tc.gc.ca/boatingsafety.