While boating can be an extraordinary experience, it comes with inherent risk. It doesn’t matter what type of boating you enjoy, or if you buy, borrow or rent, it’s your responsibility to ensure you are well-trained and informed about how to stay safe on the water.
The go-to resource for safety is Transport Canada’s Safe Boating Guide, which you can download here. It outlines much of what you’ll need to know to stay safe on the water, including the minimum requirements for safety equipment on pleasure craft. For easy reference, we’ve listed the minimum safety equipment requirements below. Boat Notes is another abbreviated version of the Safe Boating Guide and is an excellent reference.
The five key steps to safer boating:*
- Wear Your Lifejacket. Legally you must carry a Canadian approved PFD on board, appropriately sized for each passenger. But don't just carry it, WEAR IT.
- Don't Drink and Boat. Boating under the influence is not just illegal; it's irresponsible. Wait until you get back to the pier or drop anchor at the end of the day before you enjoy that cold beer or glass of wine.
- Take a Boating Course. The law now requires that anyone driving a motorized boat must have a Pleasure Craft Operator Card. In fact, for your own safety and that of your passengers, we recommend you take additional boating courses.
- Be Prepared. Ensure your boat has all the required safety gear and sufficient fuel. Be sure the weather is suitable for your vessel's capabilities, and that you have sail or float plan that you’ve shared with someone before departure.
- Beware of Cold Water Risks. Cold water is a significant risk. Learn how to protect yourself.
*adapted from the Canadian Safe Boating Council www.csbc.ca