Summertime is associated with having fun in the sun, but unfortunately, it’s also a time of year when there is a higher incidence of accidents. Transport Canada would like to take this opportunity to remind owners of vessels registered in Canada of some key safety guidelines that should be kept in mind when enjoying canal travel during this time of year since Memorial Day and the unofficial start of summer are just around the horizon. Before setting sail, you must familiarize yourself with the following essential pointers, regardless of whether you are an experienced sailor or embarking on your first adventure on open water. As a vessel owner in Canada, you must be familiar with the safety regulations established by Transport Canada. You and your team should take the following safety precautions when out on the water.
Make Sure Your Vessel Is Properly Registered and Insured by The Transport Canada
The warmer months are perfect for planning a trip on the water. Transport Canada offers the following safety guidelines for boaters and swimmers alike to follow this season. According to Transport Canada, any watercraft used for recreational purposes should be registered with the government and covered by insurance. When a boat is registered, authorities can easily find out who owns it, who uses it, and whether there are any known safety concerns. Legal protection against accidents and responsibility for damages caused by carelessness or unsafe operation is provided by insurance.
According to Transport Canada’s guidelines, there should be at least one lifejacket for every passenger on board, regardless of age. Put on a lifejacket in case your boat flips over or sinks. The risk of injury or death from cold-water shock or hypothermia, which occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can create, may be mitigated by wearing a lifejacket in certain situations.
Familiarize Yourself with The Local Waterways Before Heading Out
The chirping of birds and the rustling of leaves are two of my favorite summer-related noises. One can hear certain sounds much more clearly on a boat or on the water. But you may not hear a speedboat approaching from behind or the sound of balloons rustling in the air. Both of these things might be happening simultaneously. Before setting sail on your boat, you should become knowledgeable about the waterways in the surrounding area and see to it that everyone else on board is as well. Make sure that other people, particularly those not experienced with boating, know where you will be when you anticipate returning and your contact information if they cannot reach you. Before leaving the dock, you should double-verify that all of the gear is in excellent working condition, and you should continue to do so at regular intervals while you are at sea.
Stay Sober While Operating Your Vessel
The second principle of water safety is to abstain from alcohol consumption during the summer. Drinking and sailing are two activities that should never be combined. Alcohol affects judgment and limits your ability to respond quickly in an emergency, so keep that in mind if you plan on having a drink or two out on the water. When you work up a sweat, it also hinders your body’s natural cooling mechanisms. Even if you’re an experienced boater, drinking might make you more susceptible to the unpredictability of the environment (weather) and other people on the water (other boats).
One beer or glass of wine may not be enough to impair you, but if you intend on being out for hours (or have already been boating for many hours), it’s better to leave the drinking for shoreside activities. The truth is that boating after drinking is quite dangerous. Put down that beer or glass of wine and drive sober this summer if you care about your safety on the water.
Keep An Eye Out for Other Boats and Vessels, Especially in Busy Areas
Keep a sharp lookout for other boats and vessels, particularly in congested parts of the water. Most boating mishaps occur because individuals either fail to see other vessels on the water or fail to comprehend how close they are to other vessels until it is too late. To prevent this from happening, ensure that any potential distractions, like music or movies, are turned off, and maintain a vigilant lookout for other boats as you go. Mooring against another vessel while you are at the dock may lead to mishaps, so be sure to leave yourself an adequate distance so that there is room to move if required. It may seem like something that should go without saying to keep a lookout for other boats in the area, but a surprising number of accidents occur because individuals aren’t paying attention to their surroundings.
Follow All Traffic Laws and Regulations, Both on Land and Water
When driving on land, it is essential that you always obey all traffic regulations, even if you do not intend to drive on any public roadways. The traffic regulations apply to everyone, whether in a motor vehicle or a boat. Be cautious behind the wheel; under no circumstances should you consume alcohol or drugs while driving a motor vehicle. Remember that bigger vessels, such as motor boats, may not allow you to come to a halt as fast in an emergency scenario; as a result, you should always exercise an increased degree of caution. It is important to remember that the risks associated with being on the water are distinct from those associated with land, whether you go camping or kayaking with your loved ones. When going boating, swimming, or kayaking, you should always wear a life jacket and check to see that everyone else is doing the same.
Have A Float Plan in Case of an Emergency
Have a float plan ready if anything goes wrong and you need assistance. Nothing fancy is required; let someone know where you’re going and when you plan to return in case you get separated from your group or ship. If anything were to happen, your crew would be able to report your last known location, allowing authorities to begin their search there. In addition, Transport Canada advises checking the forecast before setting sail; no one wants to be stranded at sea in a storm or strong weather that might cause their boat to capsize. You shouldn’t venture out on ice flows or icebergs either, especially if there’s a large body of water surrounding them since it means they won’t be able to hold your weight. Try to wear a life jacket that fits you well and will keep you floating in the event of a fall into the sea.
Summer boating plans need careful consideration. The Canadian Coast Guard is a great resource for boaters to be safe and legal. Call Canadian Vessel Registry at +1 (800) 419-9569 if you’re traveling. You can find out the registration requirements in your province or how to register with the U.S. Coast Guard.