Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Summer is Almost Here, Be Safe on the Water

Grey Bruce Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) want to remind all marine operators of the five things the Canada Safe Boating Council says will make everyone safer on the water this summer.

1. Wear Your Lifejacket – Over 80% of Canadians who drown while boating were not wearing their lifejacket or not wearing it properly. There are so many choices for lifejackets/personal flotation devices on the market now, it is easy to pick one that suits your ‘boating style’ and is one that you are comfortable wearing all the time you are on the water.

2. Boat Sober – Whether it’s prescription drugs, alcohol, or cannabis, the use of intoxicants is both irresponsible and illegal. In some provinces, being convicted of impaired operation will also affect your automobile license.

3. Take a Boating Course – If you are operating a powered recreational vessel, you should have your Pleasure Craft Operator Card or some other proof of competency. But that is just a start, so consider taking some advanced courses. If your boating preference tends towards paddle, this is the perfect time to enrol in some on-water training. Or if you are just starting out, log onto and start your boating in a paddle craft responsibly. The site is not a substitute for on-water training, but it does provide a great first step in education about paddle craft.

4. Be Prepared, You and Your Vessel – Make sure you and your boat are up to your planned on-water activities. That means you are knowledgeable about your upcoming trip, your boat is properly equipped with the required and good to have safety equipment, the weather is suitable for the voyage, you have sufficient fuel and you have filed a trip plan. Plus, this is not all about you… it is important to keep in mind that by staying out of trouble you will not be putting pressure on rescue resources.

5. Be Cold Water Safe – Cold water can severely impact your ability to swim or even just stay afloat. Even the best swimmers will feel the effects of a sudden cold-water immersion. No matter your swimming ability, best chance of surviving an accidental cold-water immersion is to wear your lifejacket.

Sergeant Derek Zehr summarizes the above with, “The Grey Bruce OPP are reminding folks to prioritize safety on the water. Cold water can severely and negatively impact your abilities so be sure to wear a life jacket, practise sober boating and ensure you, your vessel and passengers are prepared for your on-water activities. It is also a requirement to have your Pleasure Craft Operator Card or equal proof of competency with you when operating a powered vessel so take a boating course and practise safe boating this season!”

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