On The Water

On The Water https://learningcentre.statefarm.ca/family/recreation/on-the-water/ bb3 Sep 9, 2011

By Staff writer State Farm™ Employee

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Wear Your PFD

Many fatalities in boating accidents result from drowning. Frequently, drowning victims were not wearing personal flotation devices (PFDs). Make the numbers work in your favour: Wear your PFD.

  • Make sure you have enough PFDs and throwable flotation devices on your boat.
  • Select a PFD that is approved by the Coast Guard, Department of Transportation, or Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Water toys are not suitable substitutes.
  • Choose PFDs that properly fit you and your passengers.
  • Dry PFDs completely in a cool, ventilated area before storing them.
  • Avoid contact with oil, grease, or other substances that could deteriorate the PFD.
  • Check PFDs at least twice a year for mildew, broken straps, or hardening. Dispose of unserviceable PFDs, and replace them with new ones.

Visit the Transport Canada website for more information on PFDs.

Stay Alert And Navigate Safely

With more boaters on the water than ever before, you must be prepared for any situation.

  • Be aware of the effects of boater's fatigue from the combination of sun, wind, noise, vibration, and motion of the water.
  • Always operate at a safe speed and be ready to react quickly in emergencies.
  • Know the water you are on. Carry charts of the area you are cruising.
  • Reduce speed when approaching areas that may be shallow. Consider using a depth device to determine water depth and provide warning of underwater hazards.
  • Watch for submerged rocks, logs or snags and other potential hazards. These and other underwater obstructions can often be spotted as a darkened area or shadow beneath the water's surface. Floating debris can be a sign that obstructions are close by.
  • Ask other boaters or marina operators of any known problem areas that may not be marked.
  • Understand and follow navigational markers and buoys.
  • Sailboat operators should watch for and avoid overhead power lines.

Leave alcohol at home. Alcohol use is a major contributing factor in recreational boating fatalities. Boating under the influence is also illegal in all states and provinces.

Take Special Precautions With Personal Watercraft

The number of personal watercraft (PWC) is more than 10 times greater today than in the late 1980s. With the number of people using personal watercrafts on the rise, injuries, and deaths associated with their use has also increased.

  • All riders must wear properly fitted PFDs, approved by the Coast Guard, Department of Transportation, or Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
  • On available models, make sure the engine "kill switch" is securely attached to the operator via a lanyard so the motor will shut off if the operator falls off.
  • Always stay alert. Look in all directions before turning. Be aware of other boats, skiers, divers, and swimmers.
  • Avoid wake jumping and passing near other boats and close to shore.
  • Stay away from congested areas. Keep in sight of shore.

Keep Your Boat And Gear Secure

Watercraft generally do not offer the same kind of security that cars do. However, by using some common sense to guard your boat against theft, you can avoid becoming a victim of crime:

  • Always remove the key from the ignition when you’re not using your watercraft.
  • At home, keep your boat in a garage or within a fenced-in, locked backyard.
  • If your boat is kept on the water, ask a neighbour to check on your boat when you are away.
  • If you moor your boat at a marina, choose one with good security and good fire protection.
  • Consider purchasing a trailer coupler lock to prevent someone from driving away with your boat/trailer.
  • Record serial and hull identification number and keep them at home. Leave registration papers on the boat. Keep copies at home.
  • Take photos of the boat and auxiliary equipment from several angles, to be provided to police if necessary.
  • Store small watercraft in a secure location.
  • Remove items such as fishing tackle, water skis, and other items from your boat when it’s not in use. These items should be stored in a locked, secure location when not being used.

Learning Center Forum Topic

What safety measures do you take before going boating?
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