As warmer spring and summer weather approaches, we are all getting excited about spending and enjoying more time outdoors. If you are a boat owner, the idea of taking your boat out on the water is now top of mind. But before you hit the water this season, remember some top tips to keep you and your boat safe!
Have a Plan and Schedule
The first thing you should always do is have a basic safety plan, travel plan, and schedule for your boat outing. This will ensure you stay on schedule and return safely. Let someone you trust know about your plan and specific schedule including launch time, expected travel route, and planned return time. Remember to check back in with your trusted party to let them know that you have returned safely.
Don’t Go Out At Night
Always remember to avoid going out on the water during night time when it’s dark. Having a plan and schedule also helps ensure that you are not caught off guard by the sun setting while you’re out in the middle of the water.
Be Wise About Weather
Just as we should avoid going out on our boats when it’s dark, we should also avoid bad weather where possible. Check the weather channels, weather websites, and apps to ensure the tides, currents and winds are in your favor. Bad weather is one of the top 10 leading causes of boat accidents. Some of our favourite sites are: Windy.com and Government of Canada Marine Forecasts.
Ensure All Safety Gear Is Onboard
Life jackets, flotation devices, and medical kits are just a few of many safety equipment items you should always ensure you have onboard your boat before heading out. Check the regulations for your boat size to make sure you have all of the necessary safety equipment. Creating a boat safety equipment checklist to review during your packing, planning, and onboarding processes can help ensure you have everything you may need.
Avoid Drugs and Alcohol
Just like you should not consume drugs or alcohol before driving a car on the road, the same goes for driving a boat on the water. Avoid any alcohol and drugs during your boating day, as being impaired is also one of the leading causes of boating accidents.
Don’t Boat Alone
It is good boating practice to avoid going out on the water by yourself, as you never know what may happen. If you can’t find someone to go with you, remember to at least let people know where you plan on going for the day and when you plan on coming back.
Designate a Spotter and Skipper
Another great reason for having at least one other person with you is so you can have a spotter or second skipper. They can help you out with any boat needs and keep an eye out on the water for any hazards.
Take A Boat Safety Course
You are legally required to obtain and carry your Personal Craft Operator Card (PCOC) if you will be operating the boat. You can obtain this by taking a boat safety course before taking your boat out on the water. Reviewing the boat safety course notes every year, or even re-taking the course every 2 or 3 years, is also recommended.
Ensure Proper Boat Insurance Coverage
You will also want to ensure you have proper boat / marine insurance for you and your boat. This is not only to help you cover any damage that may occur to the boat, but also to protect you from any liability risk you may face while out on the water. Running into a dead head, an unexpected boat collision, or bumping into the dock, are all risks that boat owners and operators face when out on the water. Proper insurance coverage for these risks is required.
Contact Harbord Today
If you have any questions about ensuring proper safety and coverage for you and your boat this season, feel free to call our team at Harbord. We’d be happy to help in any way we can, and we can also provide free & quick quotes for you to compare prices too.