May 16, 2017
May 24 weekend, a highly anticipated long weekend considered the unofficial kick-off to summer. It is typically the time when people start to think about water sports and activities, including some of our very own here at the firm.
Proud boat owners and team members Sharon and Randy have recently joined the Hamilton Yacht Club where they went through obligatory safety training. Whether on a boat, Jet Ski or sea-doo, water safety is crucial to preventing serious injury. Here are some tips to help keep you safe this summer:
Licensing and Equipment
Much like operating a motor vehicle requires a license, you are obligated by law to have a pleasure craft operator card if you own and/or operate a boat. Marine safety also requires that you are equipped with the following:
- A Canadian-approved flotation device or lifejacket of appropriate size for each passenger on board
- Buoyant heaving line at least 15 metres in length
- Watertight flashlight OR Canadian approved flares
- Sound-signaling device
- A paddle or anchor with at least 15 metres of rope, chain or cable
- A bailer or manual water pump
- Class 5 BC fire extinguisher
In addition to the mandatory safety equipment list it is also a good idea to have the following items on board:
- Marine First Aid Kit
- Repair kit and/or spare parts
- Drinking water and snacks
- Sun-screen, hat and sunglasses
- Dry clothing stored in waterproof bags
- Waterproof matches
Don’t Drink and Drive
Alcohol and boating should not be combined it is just as illegal as drinking and driving. The same dangers of driving a car while under the influence existing when operating a marine craft: diminished judgment reduced motor skills, peripheral vision, depth perception and balance and slowed reflexes. Furthermore, consumption of alcohol disturbs the inner ear therefore reducing the ability to distinguish the water surface if you fall in, and it accelerates hypothermia.
Keep an Eye on the Weather
Check the weather conditions before making plans to spend a day on the water specifically the local water reports which will indicate dangerous water conditions such as high winds, high waters and strong currents. Other hazardous conditions include fog, dark clouds, lightning and heavy rain.
Plan Ahead and be Prepared
Always be prepared and plan ahead before spending a day out on the water. In addition to checking the forecast review marine charts or maps of the area to determine and mark local hazards and speak to local boaters. It is also a good idea to complete a trip plan and leave it behind with a responsible individual.
Before setting sail, inspect the craft, repair any damage and tighten loose fittings. Review emergency procedures and each passenger’s responsibilities before boarding. Ensure that all the proper safety equipment is on board and in good working condition and show everyone where that equipment is stored.
Last but not least, have enough fuel for the trip as well as a means of communication like a cellphone or VHF radio in the event of an emergency.
Following these guidelines will help keep you safe on the waters. In the event that you or someone you know has been injured in a water vehicle accident our firm can assist.