Photo submitted The Canadian Safe Boating Council is urging those who love to get out on the boat to also play it safe by not just keeping a life jacket in the vessel, but also wearing it.

Stay safe on the water as the unofficial start to boating season begins

Remember the five key safety points

May 16 to 22 marks North American Safe Boating Awareness Week, and the past Victoria Day weekend marks the unofficial start of boating season in Canada. This year, keeping Canadians safe during the COVID-19 pandemic is the Government’s top priority.

Boaters are being called on to stay at home and the Honourable Marc Garneau, the Minister of Transport reminds them to follow the guidance of their local health authorities to limit the risk of COVID -19 transmission.

After weeks of social distancing many Canadians are anxious to get back onto the water. The Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) warns that the water is still cold and for many their boating skills may be rusty.

“With recreational boating having such a slow start due to COVID-19 this year, if you need help, it might not be as readily available from rescue services or other boaters as it was in previous years,”Joe Gatfield, chair of CSBC said, “So, this year, it is even more critical to be prepared and not put additional pressure on emergency resources.”

READ MORE: Guidelines for recreational fishing expected this week

“Boating is a favourite pastime for many Canadians. By its very nature, boating provides the ideal way to get out and enjoy the outdoors while still maintaining social distancing,” the CSBC said.

Keep in mind the CSBC’s five key messages to stay safe on the water for now and for later in the season:

“Wear Your Lifejacket – Over 80 per cent of Canadians who drown while boating are not wearing a lifejacket or not wearing it properly.

Boat Sober – Whether it’s prescription drugs, alcohol or cannabis, the use of intoxicants is both irresponsible and illegal.

Be Prepared, You and Your Boat – Make sure you and your boat are up to your planned on-water activities.

Take a Boating Course – Operating a powered vessel, you should have your Pleasure Craft Operator Card, so consider taking some advanced courses. If your boating preference tends towards paddle, enroll in some training.

Be Aware of Cold Water Risks – Cold water can severely impact your ability to swim or even just stay afloat. Your best chance of surviving an accidental cold water immersion is to wear your lifejacket.”

“Boating is a favourite pastime for many Canadians. It can reduce the stress of physical isolation and it’s a great family activity. By its very nature, boating provides the ideal way to get out and enjoy the outdoors while still maintaining physical distancing practices,” said CBSC.

The Government of Canada is also reminding Canadian recreational boaters about the travel restriction between Canada and the United States for non-essential travel, for tourism, recreation or entertainment, that remain in place until at least May 21, 2020.

READ MORE: Volunteer closures devastating to bottom line

“Prepare for the unexpected. Do a pre-departure checklist to make sure the boat has fuel, runs well and that all safety equipment is on board, in good condition and easy to reach.”

Transport Canada defines a pleasure craft as a boat, a ship, a vessel, or any other water craft that is used exclusively for pleasure and does not carry passengers or goods for payment. Canoes, kayaks, sailboats and motorboats are also included in this definition.

“The Government of Canada remains committed to keeping Canadians safe, particularly during these unprecedented and challenging times. Each year, the launch of the North American Safe Boating Awareness Week is an opportunity to remind all Canadians to put their safety and the safety of their families first, and I know that I can count on recreational boaters to do their part to adhere to safety measures and put into practice the recommendations of local public health authorities to help reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Garneau said.

K-J Millar | Journalist
Send K-J email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Search continues for wolf, senior citizen being transferred to Vancouver

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Sunken Gardens bloom from deeply seeded efforts

Garden club members are rooted in dedication

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Most Read