Boat safety this summer

A group of women enjoying a beautiful day of sailing.

No matter how or where you set sail, safety should be top of mind.

With more than 7% of our land mass covered in water, Canada is blessed with boating opportunities in every province and territory. It’s no wonder that an estimated 12.4 million Canadians enjoy our myriad waterways on boats, especially during the sunny summer season.

From canoes to pontoons to luxury water crafts, there are many ways to get out on the water. No matter how or where you set sail, safety should be top of mind.

Here are some boating safety tips to keep in your back pocket as you spend time on some of the best fresh water in the world.

  • About 40% of boaters take off without legally required safety equipment. Make sure your boat is stocked for safety, including:
  • First aid kit
  • Tool kit and spare parts
  • Bailer or manual pump
  • Sound-signalling device
  • Life jackets for every person on board (Here’s how to choose and size them.)
  • Check out a more exhaustive list here.
  • Plan a route for every cruise on the water and be sure to let people on dry land know where you’re going and when you expect to be back. Here’s how to file a longer trip.
  • Monitor the weather closely. Conditions can change quickly and put you at risk on the water.
  • Make sure you understand the rules of the waterway you’re travelling. Consider taking a boating course to ensure you’re fully prepared.
  • Ensure you have enough fuel for the trip you’re planning.
  • Observe speed limits and avoid boating too close to shore.
  • Be aware of kayakers, swimmers, waterskiiers, stand up paddlers and other people enjoying the water.
  • Avoid drinking and boating. Here are some sobering facts.

Looking for more information about boating safety? Here are some additional helpful resources:

·       Canadian Safe Boating Council

·       Government of Canada’s Office of Boating Safety

·       Government of Canada’s Boating Safety Guide