Summer is the perfect time for you to take out your boat and enjoy the weather. In fact, many say that nothing beats the feeling when you’re relaxing on your boat while the sun is shining down on you. While that sounds enjoyable, it is also important that you follow certain boat safety procedures to keep your experience enjoyable and safe. From the supplies you bring with you to specific practices that you should follow, we want to ensure that you have fun and stay safe boating this summer!

Have Your Proof Of Competency Ready

If you have your own boat or if you plan to rent one, it is absolutely imperative that you have your proof of competency (Pleasure Craft Operator Card or a specified marine certificate). Having this competency means that you have the basic knowledge and understanding of the rules of the Canadian waterways. Once you pass a boat safety test that is available through an accredited course provider at Transport Canada, you will receive your Pleasure Craft Operator Card and be ready to go boating!

Always Check The Weather Forecast

Your boating conditions can change depending on the weather, and that’s why you should never forget to check the forecast before getting on your boat. The simple act of checking the radio, TV or even using a weather app on your phone can help you predict what mother nature has in store for you. By doing this, you may find that precipitation, high or low temperatures, and storm warnings may force you to reschedule your boating trip or bring extra supplies like water or sunscreen.

Those Lifejackets Can Be A Life Saver

Did you know that 90% of people who drown in boating incidents are not wearing lifejackets? Did you also know that rough weather conditions can make it extremely difficult to access a lifejacket if it is stored somewhere on a boat? Knowing this, it’s crucial that every passenger on your boat or near the water is wearing one so that if something happens and they require help in the water, they can rest easy knowing their lifejacket will keep them above water. It should also be noted that while many boats have ‘lifesaving cushions’ onboard, they are not approved as safety equipment and should not replace lifejackets in any event.

Alcohol And Boating Do Not Mix

According to the Canadian Red Cross, alcohol consumption is a factor in over 40% of recreational boating fatalities. While many may think that just because a boat is on water and not the road, the vessel and the passengers onboard will not have to abide to the same rules as if they were in a car. But this couldn’t be more wrong. Just as drinking and driving is illegal, so is drinking and boating because there are still significant dangers that are involved when consuming alcohol while operating a boat such as;

  • Reduction in motor skills and balance
  • Diminished ability to process information
  • Slow reflex response time

Be responsible when you’re in or operating a boat and choose to wait until you get off the water to consume alcohol or enjoy a non-alcoholic beverage instead!

Important Things To Bring With You

While safety is vital when you’re operating a boat, you never want to be out on the water only to discover that you forgot something! So before you steer your boat away from the dock, make sure you remember the following items so everyone onboard can feel comfortable!

  • Dry clothing and towels as it can be uncomfortable to sit in a wet swimsuit all day if you jump in the water.
  • A first-aid kit in case you or one of your passengers have a small accident.
  • Drinking water and snacks so you can stay hydrated and full until you get back to land.
  • Sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.
  • A boat safety kit in case you run into any emergencies on the water.

A Boat Safety Kit?

You never know what can happen when you’re out on the water. Your engine may fail, or you may even run out of gas! In situations such as these, it’s essential that you have a safety kit with the appropriate supplies to help you during your time of need! Often these kits consist of the following;

  • A bailing device so you can scoop leaking water out of your boat.
  • A rope long enough to toss to another boat in case they need to tow you to shore.
  • An LED flashlight with working batteries so if you’re stuck on the water at night, you can see and alert others of your location.
  • A whistle in case you have to gain the attention of other boaters around you.

While there’s a lot you can do on your boat to help you stay safe while you enjoy the summer weather, you should also protect yourself with the right Boat Insurance. Without the proper coverage, the repercussions of being involved in an accident or damages to your boat can be financially crippling. Make sure you keep yourself and your family safe this summer, contact your Cambridge Insurance broker today to review your current policy to ensure that it fits your unique boating needs!