Boating and Fishing Safety Tips

Top Ten Boating and Fishing Safety Tips from the Lifesaving Society:

  1. Life jackets. Choose it - Use it!  Always wear a lifejacket or personal flotation device! Don't just have it in the boat, pick one and wear it. The vast majority of Canadian boating victims were not wearing a lifejacket or PFD when they drowned. You can compare trying to put on a lifejacket or PFD in an emergency to trying to put on your seatbelt in the middle of a car crash. Lifejackets and PFDs have come a long way. Inflatable types and a wider range of colours and styles make it easier for you to find and wear the one that's right for you. 

  2. Boat Sober - it's the Water Smart® choice!
    Booze/Drugs and boating don't mix. According to the Canadian Drowning Report 2016 Edition, alcohol consumption was involved in 39% of boating deaths.  Alcohol intensifies the effects of fatigue, sun, wind and boat motion to negatively affect balance, judgement and reaction time.  Be Water Smart® - don't drink and drive your boat!

  3. Get carded!  Get trained in boat safety.  You can get ready for the Pleasure Craft Operator Card test by taking a Lifesaving Society Boat Operator Accredited Training (BOAT)™ course or study at home, using the Lifesaving Society BOAT Study Guide, available at our SHOP, and take the test at one of our BOAT Test Centres.  The course will help you to know the "rules of the road", how to respond in a boating emergency, and how to operate a pleasure craft safely.  Everyone who operates a power-driven boat needs proof of competency.

    A variety of documents my serve as proof of competency: 
  4. Know before you go! Check the forecast and create a simple safety checklist. 
    Avoid potential danger by taking a few minutes to make a simple checklist: What's the weather forecast? Any Local Hazards? What is the condition of the waterways? Where is it shallow? Are there any rapids? Have your maps and charts? Have your lifejackets or pfd's? Have your first aid kit, tools and spare parts? Enough fuel? Safety equipment all working? Told someone where you're going and when to expect you back? 

  5. Wear the right gear!
    Wear your lifejacket or PFD, of course, as well as good sunglasses, sunscreen and appropriate clothing. Paddles, whistles and flares are the right gear, too.

  6. Drive your powerboat or PWC responsibly.
    Look before you act, stay low, drive at moderate speeds, be aware of changing weather conditions, and drive with extreme caution and proper lights after dark.
    • Children under 16 years of age are not permitted to operate a PWC.
    • Children under 12 years must be accompanied by an adult to operate a boat with a motor of more than 7.5 KW (10 HP).
    • Children 12 to 15 years must be accompanied by an adult to operate a boat with a motor of more than 30 KW (40 HP).

  7. Never stand up in your small powerboat, canoe or other similar watercraft. 
    Numerous drownings occur when people stand up and move around their boat. 

  8. Get trained - take Lifesaving Society courses
    Be prepared in the event of a crash-whether your boat capsizes or you need to rescue someone else. Become aware of the dangers of cold water. 

  9. Don't overload. 
    Avoid capsizing by following the load restrictions of your craft. This includes not only the number of passengers, but also the weight of your gear. 

  10. Follow the rules of the road. Be courteous of others using the waterways and obey all boating rules. Be watchful of swimmers and other boaters, and always have a spotter for water-skiers and tube riders.