As such, the Ontario Provincial Police is reminding everyone to be aware of proper boating practices and to take steps to ensure a safe and happy boating season.
Here are a few things to consider.
- Ensure that your vessel is properly equipped and is in proper working order. Each boat should have a safety kit on board. This includes a floating rope, auditory signaling device, bailing bucket or bilge pump, first-aid kit, basic tool kit, spark plugs, a flare, flashlight and supplies in case you are stranded (snacks, water, matches). Vessels must also have oars or a paddle in case of engine failure.
- Every vessel must have a personal floatation device or lifejacket for everyone on board and they must be accessible to all. Weak swimmers and children should be wearing them. Many boaters who drown believe they are good swimmers, so they think having a PFD on board, and within easy reach is good enough. An average of 140 people drown in Canada every year. Wearing a lifejacket will save your life.
- Check the load capacity of your boat. Take a second trip if necessary to avoid overloading your boat. Distribute the load evenly so that your vessel is not prone to tipping or taking on water.
- Operate your boat in a responsible fashion. Consider boat traffic and weather/water conditions, size of the load and condition of your boat when out on the water. Show courtesy to other boaters.
- Ensure that those who are operating the watercraft have a Pleasure Craft Operator Card.
- Boating and alcohol do not mix. Operating a boat while impaired is a criminal offence and is very dangerous. It is an offence to have open liquor in your vessel unless it is moored and has washroom, cooking and sleeping facilities.
The OPP supports proactive steps that will help reduce provincial drowning deaths.
For more information go to www.opp.ca or visit the Transport Canada website at www.tc.gc.ca/eng/marinesafety/menu.htm.
Posted by Arron Pickard