Family Health Magazine - PREVENTION
Out on the Water
Follow the rules of boating safety
Every time you go out on the water, you could be in for more adventure than you expect. It is always best to be prepared. Boating is the leading activity contributing to water-related deaths. Immersion in the water is always sudden and unexpected. Three-quarters of fatal boating incidents involve capsizing, swamping or falling overboard. Following safety guidelines can help you enjoy a safe and enjoyable summer of fun on the water.
Top Ten Boating and Fishing Water Smart® Tips
1 Always wear a lifejacket or personal floatation device (PFD).
Just having a lifejacket in the boat isn’t enough. Pick one and wear it. Putting it on in an emergency is like trying to put on your seatbelt in the middle of a car crash.
2 Think about it. Boat sober.
Alcohol, drugs and boating do not mix. Alcohol or drugs are involved in about two-thirds of all boating deaths, including about three out of five of recreational power boating deaths, and more than four out of five canoeing deaths.
3 Get the pleasure craft operator (PCO) card.
If you are operating a boat with a motor, make certain you have the basic level of boating knowledge that comes with a PCO card. The Lifesaving Society’s Boat Operator Accredited Training (BOAT™) course will help you qualify for your PCO by teaching the boating ‘rules of the road,’ how to operate a pleasure craft safely and respond in a boating emergency.
As of September 15, 2009, Transport Canada’s boating regulations require that anyone operating a boat with a motor must have a Pleasure Craft Operator (PCO) Card. Getting your PCO Card may be easy as taking a written test at any of the Lifesaving Society’s BOAT™ Test Centres.
To prepare for the PCO Card test, brush up by reading the Lifesaving Society’s BOAT Study Guide or take a Boat Operators Accredited Training (BOAT) course. You can find out where to take the test from www.lifesaving.org
6 Follow the rules of the road.
Drive powerboats and personal watercraft responsibly. Be courteous of others using the waterways. Look before you act, stay low, and drive at moderate speeds. Be aware of changing weather conditions.Drive with extreme caution and proper lights after dark.
7 Never stand up in a small powerboat, canoe or other similar watercraft.
Many drownings occur because someone stands up or moves around in a boat.
4 Know before you go.
Check the weather forecast and ask about local hazards. Always check your equipment before you head out.
5 Take the right gear.
Along with your lifejacket or PFD, wear good sunglasses, sunscreen and appropriate clothing. Equip your boat with paddles, whistles and flares.
8 Do not overload your boat
9 Get trained.
Know how to swim and learn lifesaving skills. To be truly prepared, take Lifesaving Society courses at your local pool or aquatic facility.
10 Closely supervise young children near water.
By thinking ahead, you ensure the time you spend out on the water is both safe and enjoyable. Happy boating!
While effort is made to reflect accepted medical knowledge and practice, articles in Family Health Online should not be relied upon for the treatment or management of any specified medical problem or concern and Family Health accepts no liability for reliance on the articles. For proper diagnosis and care, you should always consult your family physician promptly. © Copyright 2012, Family Health Magazine, a special publication of the Edmonton Journal, a division of Postmedia Network Inc., 10006 - 101 Street, Edmonton, AB T5J 2S6 [PR_FHc10]