Have a safe boating summer

  • Jul. 9, 2007 5:00 p.m.

Submitted article–Recreational boating should be fun. But it also must be safe. Whether you own, borrow or rent a pleasure craft, make sure it is in good working order and properly equipped before heading out. Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety wants to remind you how to boat safely. Our Boating Safety Officers encourage the over one million B.C. boaters to practice safe boating. Lifejackets are for EveryoneEnsure you have a Canadian-approved lifejacket for everyone on board, that it is in good condition (working zippers & buckles, clean fabric, no tears) and properly sized for each person-and make sure you wear it! Roughly 90-percent of fatalities on the water are because people don’t wear lifejackets. A lifejacket must be Canadian-certified. A simple way to find out if it has been approved in Canada is to check for English and French on the tag. Then look more closely for approval from Transport Canada, Department of Fisheries and Oceans or the Canadian Coast Guard. Lifejackets are now available in various colours, sizes and for various water activities. For example, a kayaker can purchase a lifejacket that has no bulk in the shoulders. Wearing a lifejacket is a good practice for strong swimmers and non-swimmers alike because it is a first line of defence against the Pacific Ocean’s cold water. Be PreparedThe Office of Boating Safety wants to remind boaters of what they should have on board. Check the Safe Boating Guide for the minimum gear required for your vessel size. Most boats need:. floating heaving line . flares and/or flashlight. manual bilge pump and/or bailer . navigation lights. paddles and/or anchor . fire extinguisher(s). pea-less whistle and/or horn . life jackets / PFDsThe Pleasure Craft Operator CardBoaters can learn all about boating safety by taking an approved Boating Safety course and obtaining their Pleasure Craft Operator Card. If you were born after April 1, 1983, or if you operate a vessel less than 4 metres (13.2 feet) in length you are now required to show proof of competency. All other powerboat operators will be required to show proof of competency by September 15, 2009.For more information, visit www.boatingsafety.gc.ca or call 1-800-O-CANADA.