The How-to of Boat Safety this Summer

With the arrival of summer comes boating season. Spending time out on the water is a great way to enjoy time with family and friends whether you are fishing, wakeboarding, waterskiing, or just taking a short cruise around the shore. Whether you’re out for the afternoon, for the entire day or longer, here are four important ways to keep boat safety top-of-mind this summer.

Be Aware

Prior to your sail date, remember to check the local weather, wind, wave, and tide conditions and be aware of any weather and water conditions that might affect your plans. For information on current weather conditions refer to the TV, Internet, and radio forecasts and/or visit the Canadian Marine Forecast for weather warnings. Keep an eye out for darkening clouds, rough changes in wind, or a sudden drop in temperature while you are out. Remember to play it smart, and get off the water if you don’t feel safe. Make sure to continuously check on weather conditions while out on the water.

Be Prepared

There are numerous items you should always take with you while boating. Some of the items required are your Pleasure Craft Operator card, a PFD (Personal Flotation Device) for each person on board, a buoyant watertight flashlight or approved flares, a sound signaling device, navigation lights, a manual propelling device or anchor, a bailer or water pump, and a fire extinguisher. Make sure you’re prepared and review the minimum safety equipment requirements from  Transport Canada, Safe Boating Guide.

In addition, make sure you have enough fuel. If you don’t have access to refuel on the water then remember to bring extra. You should always be prepared for the unexpected by ensuring you have proper boat insurance which can protect for personal injury or damage. If you need to get boat insurance, talk to your nearest Sussex Insurance location. Also, don’t forget the basics like a marine first aid kit, drinking water, sunscreen, snacks, and some dry clothes.

Be Boat Safety Alert

Drinking and operating a boat do not mix. Similar to drinking and driving, drinking and boating can be just as dangerous and is just as illegal as drinking and driving. Drinking while boating impairs judgement, slows reactions and reflexes, and causes vision and hearing impairment. Should anyone decide to have a drink, have a designated boat driver in place to get everyone home safely.

Be Safe

Most importantly be safe. Be constantly aware of all of your surroundings, especially if you are in a high boat traffic area. Know the nautical rules of the road and use your common sense to decide what is safe and what is unsafe. Remain focused and attentive if you’re the boat’s operator, and always be on the lookout for potential hazards. Accidents due to negligence are far too common in the boating community. Pay attention, have boat safety in mind, and be safe out on the water.

No matter where you are taking the boat this summer, make sure you’re protected for any accident that could happen. Visit your nearest Sussex Insurance to talk about which boating insurance is right for you. With boat safety set in place, spend less time worrying and more time enjoying your time out on the water.