6 Tips for Boating Safely (and in compliance)
Before you leave the dock, make sure that you are in compliance with the Department of Transport Canada safety regulations. Not doing so, could put you and your passengers at risk and in violation of regulations.
Flotation Equipment - All flotation equipment must have the approved label from the Department of Transport Canada or the Canadian Coast Guard/Fisheries and Oceans and be in good working order. Altered, damaged or repaired PFDs or Life Jackets are not legal.
- Lifejackets - Standard "keyhole" lifejackets are reversible and come in different adult and children sizes, with weight/size designation on the label. When properly worn, they are designed to turn the wearer face up and hold the head above water.
- Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) - PFDs come in many styles and are available in many approved colours. The new inflatable PFDs are legal on the condition that they are worn in an open boat, on deck or in the cockpit. They are not approved for use by people under the age of 16 years or lighter than 36.3 kg (80 pounds). They are not approved for use on personal watercraft.
Heaving Lines - These lines are designed to float on the water to minimize the likelihood they will get tangled in the propeller and to make it easy for the person in the water to grab hold.
Bailers - These come in many different styles and different pumping capacities. It is required by regulation to have enough hose attached to carry the water from the bilge overboard
Fire Extinguishers - Fire extinguishers that meet the requirements must be approved by Transport Canada, Underwriters Laboratories of Canada (ULC), United States Coast Guard for Marine Use or the British Board of Trade for Marine Use. The label will designate A, B, C or D Classes.
Flares - These have a "best before" date and are usually good for three or four years after you purchase them.
While not required by government regulations, carrying the following items can make a difference to your comfort and safety.
- First Aid Kit - The longer the trip, the farther you stray from shore and emergency assistance, the more sophisticated and comprehensive your kit should be.
- Emergency Kit - Your emergency kit should include a spare flashlight, whistle and knife as well as drinking water, rations and dry clothing.
- Spare Parts - Shear pins, props, belts, hoses, clamps, spark plugs and other items such as engine oil may help you get home.
- Plugs and Sealants - Underwater sealing compounds along with tapered wooden plugs and scrap pieces of rubber and wood could keep you afloat in the event of a leak or hole.
For more detailed information, visit the Government of Ontario's website gorideontario.com.