Atlantic Canada is a great place to go boating. There is so much to do and so many fun activities, especially in the warm and lovely weather. However, the unexpected can happen on the water and this can present special hazards that you will not face on land. Here are 8 helpful tips to keep you and your family safe while you are having fun with your boat.
1. Wear Your Lifejacket
It may look daring and cool to speed through the water without wearing a life jacket or flotation device, but it is not smart. Maybe you think you are a great swimmer and you won’t need a life jacket if you are suddenly thrown into the water. However, you never know what can happen. Suppose the boat capsized and you were struck in the head? What would happen if your legs were seriously injured in an accident? It only takes a few minutes to drown, and if you have a life jacket on, it can make the difference between life and death.
2. Have an Emergency Plan
What would happen if you faced a sudden storm or the boat tipped over? There would be a great deal of panic if no one knew what to do. Talk to your passengers before you leave and make sure they know what to expect.
3. Drinking and Boating Should be Avoided
It’s very tempting to bring a cooler of beer with you when you go boating. However, operating a boat while intoxicated can lead to all kinds of problems. It only takes one error and in a split second your life can be changed forever. You need your best reflexes when you are boating and you have other people’s lives in your hands.
4. Tune-up Your Engine
If you have a motor driven boat, make sure the engine is in good shape at the start of the season. Spark plugs and motor oil are not expensive and can make a big difference.
5. Perform a Safety Check
A simple inspection may reveal trouble before it happens. Before you take a boat on the water, check out the hull and look for signs or wear or damage. If you see cracks or any problems, do not attempt to take the boat on the water.
6. Have Special Gear for Kids
Make sure you have kid friendly life jackets. They should fit well and have straps that make it impossible to slip out of in the water. Always choose colors that are bright and easy to see, like fluorescent orange or yellow.
7. Don’t Panic if Someone Goes Overboard
You are out boating and suddenly someone falls into the water. Your first instinct may be to dive in save them, but this is not the best move. If you have an oar or something to hand them, try that. You also throw them some flotation gear or anything that will float in the water. Only experienced swimmers with training in life saving should attempt to save someone, or there could be two tragedies.
8. Make Sure You Have Boating Liability Insurance
Anything can happen and when it does, boating liability can cover expenses for damages and injuries. Talk to your insurance agent today and you’ll see it is an inexpensive way to protect your passengers and others.