Safe Boating: An Introduction
At Adventure Marine, we know that taking risks and pursuing adventurous goals is important to personal growth and happiness. We also know that a firm grounding in boating safety is integral to meet those goals and to continue enjoying being on the water. This week, we discuss some key areas that deserve your attention while you prepare for your safest, most enjoyable summer yet!
The best resource for boating safety is your local regulating offices. If you are in Canada, like us, check out the resources available through Transport Canada and your regional Office of Boating Safety. In the US, that may be the US Coast Gaurd or the National Safe Boating Council. Regardless of where you call home, there are lots of resources available online and in print.
Click on the highlighted text in this blog post to find out where we sourced our info from. There are many factors and variables to consider for how to best keep your guests, and yourself, safe on the water. Potential dangers include, but are not limited to:
changing weather conditions
tides and currents
and, many more…
The best way to guard against disaster, due to unforeseen circumstances, is by educating yourself. Also being prepared. Canada, like most places around the world, requires proof of competency for all operators of recreational boats. This could be a Pleasure Craft Operators Card or a specific marine certification issued by Transport Canada. The best way to get this accreditation is through a boating safety course followed by a test. Besides being required by law, these courses are an excellent way to jump into the nuts and bolts of boating safety.
Topics covered in preparation for the test include:
your responsibilities as a boat operator;
how to prepare to leave the dock;
the importance of correct and functioning safety equipment;
how to prevent unsafe situations;
how to share waterways with others, including larger vessels;
what to do in the event of an emergency.
It is important to note that this short blog post is not a substitute for actual training by a seasoned instructor. It is a way to wet your feet and learn from some of Adventure Marine’s personal experiences.
Equipment: The Basics
Regardless of what type of boat you operate, one life jacket or personal flotation device (PDF) is required for each person on board. Even the strongest swimmers are susceptible to tragedy when we forget this basic piece of equipment. In fact, not wearing a life jacket remains the number one cause of recreational boating deaths in Canada. An unexpected fall into cold water and cold-water shock can affect breathing, muscle strength, and impede your ability to swim to safety.
Choosing the right flotation devices for your passengers is worth some thought. How will you store them so that they are accessible at all times? Size and fit are also important, particularly if you have growing kids on board. Transport Canada recommends life jackets over PFD’s because they provide valuable extra flotation and heat retention. There are 3 main categories of life jackets, outlined here.
Some other basic requirements for all vessels include a reboarding device, i.e. anything that allows you to board your boat from the water. Also a buoyant heaving line, a bailing device in case your boat starts taking on water, and a sound signaling device. The specific requirements of this necessary equipment changes depending on the size and speed of your boat. Make sure to read the requirements carefully, and always air on the side of caution if you are not sure.
We have only just scratched the surface of boater safety. Check back for more blog posts on how to be smart on the water. Have a question or comment? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the Adventure Marine family,
Happy (and safe) Boating!