Intro• Boating is one of the more enjoyable summer activities for a lot of people, but it can also be one of the more dangerous. Recreational boating accounts for many injuries and many deaths every year, and even though accidents are part of any kind of traveling, you can reduce the likelihood of a mishap.• Following some important points about recreational boating will keep you and your guests safe while out on the water.
Get Your License• You can take the test for your pleasure craft operator’s license online, and it isn’t overly hard to get. But it will provide you with the knowledge you need to stay safe on the water and obey all of the necessary laws. It wasn’t too long ago that no licensing at all was required to take a boat out on the water, but enough injuries and fatalities have occurred over the years to make government react. The bottom line is, don’t take control of any kind of motorized pleasure craft without the proper license. Recreational boating must be safe above all else.
Get Your License• Just like with driving a car, you need a boat license if you’re going to be in control of a boat on Canadian waters. Law enforcement has the right to board your vessel and ask to see your proof of competency, which is your boat license. If you aren’t able to show the license, you’ll have the pleasure of a $250 fine right then and there. And it isn’t enough to say that you’ll show it later. The fine applies even if you’ve passed your test, but just don’t have the actual license with you.
Instruct Your Guests• Another important point to keep in mind about recreational boating is to instruct your guests on the proper way to behave while on the boat. Some of the information you should relay includes: – Stepping up onto the boat rather than jumping – Holding onto the sides or any railings when getting on and off – Where lifejackets are located – How to put lifejackets on – Where the first aid kit is located and what’s inside – How to keep their balance on the boat if they’ve never been on one before – Which laws are applicable to their time on the boat• You also might want to ask around amongst your guests to see if anyone has taken the necessary boat exam, just in case you are incapacitated for any reason.
Refrain from Drinking• Drinking and boating is just as frowned upon as drinking and driving, and it is a very important thing to remember about recreational boating.• When you are boating, you will suffer many of the same effects as you will when drinking and driving, including: – Impaired judgment – Impaired motor skills – Slow down in reflexes• The difference with boating and drinking is that the effect of the alcohol can hit you much faster and more seriously when you are out in the sun, like is often the case. Just like with your car, you will be charged under the Criminal Code if you operate a boat while your blood alcohol level is 0.08 or higher.
Watch that Fatigue• Even if you aren’t drinking, just being out on the water in the sun for a long period of time can create a condition known as ‘boater fatigue’. The sun, wind, boat vibration and motion of the boat contribute to boater fatigue, and although it can be pretty bad on its own it’s even worse when you are drinking.
Practice Proper Etiquette• Even if you are good with the law, your guests are well instructed and you’re full of energy, there are still the other boaters to consider. Boating etiquette is an aspect of recreational boating that will keep you in the good graces of the other boaters and will enhance your safety.• Some of the important elements of proper boating etiquette include: – Being mindful of the waves you leave behind – Slowing down as you approach other boats or swimmers – Securing your belongings when you launch – Moving swiftly to launch or refuel when there are a lot of other boats waiting – Keep your boat lines away from anyplace where someone might trip over them – Keeping the water and your boat clean – Keeping noise levels to a minimum or at least in line with everyone else
Practice Proper Etiquette• If you exhibit general courtesy at all times when you’re on the water, it should make for an enjoyable time for you and your guests, without disrupting too many other boaters.
Reference• This presentation is brought to you by BOATsmart Canada, your source to get a boating license. For more information, click here.