Safe Tips for Boating

Boats represent a unique source of fun and enjoyment. With our boats we water ski, fish, sail, and cruise across lakes and rivers. However, boats are more than just toys. These complicated machines come with safety risks as well as potential fun.

Your reaction to events on the water could make the difference between a fun outing on the water or a trip to the hospital. Proper precautions and preparation allow you to respond calmly and quickly if something does go wrong.

What are these practices? Below are a few guidelines and general rules you can use to stay safe. Use them to prepare for and to respond to threatening situations on the water.

1.  Take a Boating Class

You need a pleasure craft operator card in order to use a boat in Canadian provinces. This usually includes taking a class that schools you on proper safety and operating procedures. Pay attention to these rules or freshen up on them if it has been awhile. Boating courses provide you a place to practice good behavior, so you feel no pressure to remember when confronting a bad situation.

2. Keep Emergency Equipment on Your Boat

While a lake or a river may not seem that big, a boat can feel isolated when there is an emergency. You need to respond quickly to a bad situation, so you should carry proper emergency equipment. For example, Canadian law mandates that boats carry fire extinguishers, flares, and a bailing device. Without these, a boat can experience damage or sink without anyone else knowing there was a problem. You should also carry a first aid kit..

4. Get Emergency Training

While boating is fun, a number of things could go wrong on the water. Injuries or medical emergencies can occur which might require immediate action. As a boat owner, it’s a good idea to know how to respond in these possible situations. You might consider receiving CPR or water rescue training. This way, you will feel confident to act correctly in an emergency.

5. Check the Weather

Before you go to your local lake or on a boating trip, know the weather forecast for the duration of your trip. Weather is a major safety issue on the water. Storms can damage the boat or injure its occupants. Less seriously, bad weather can ruin a carefully planned excursion. Give yourself time to reschedule a boat trip if you see bad weather coming.

6. Make Sure Everyone Has a Floatation Device

PFD’s (personal floatation devices)  keep you safe from unexpected events. Even the best swimmer will struggle in the event of an unexpected incident or injury.

7. Drive Safely

While there are no speed limits on a lake or river, you should still try to go a reasonable speed to prevent accidents. More speed means less reaction time and less ability to turn. You decrease the odds of a severe accident and injury by paying attention to your surroundings. A responsible driver knows how to balance fun with safety and maximize both.

8. Never Drink While Boating

Penalties for boating while intoxicated are just as serious as if you were driving a car. Alcohol has its place, but that place is not on the water.

9. Be aware of Carbon Monoxide

While the engine of your powerboat is the source of a lot of fun, its fumes are dangerous. If your engine is idling or you are in reverse then you will become exposed to carbon monoxide. In high enough concentrations, carbon monoxide causes sickness and death.

You should seek medical attention if you or your passengers feel light headed or nauseous while being around a boat. You can also buy a carbon monoxide detector for your boat, so you will know if the fumes become powerful enough to be a threat.

Boating brings us lots of opportunities for fun and adventure. Boating activities stay fun when we take precautions to prevent accidents or emergencies. Proper planning and good judgment will enable you to stay safe on the water. Use our suggestions to stay safe while enjoying what boating has to offer.

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