May long weekend means it’s anchors away for national Safe Boating Week

Click to play video: 'Safe Boating Awareness Week'
Safe Boating Awareness Week
The long weekend is the unofficial kickoff to summer, which means waterways see vessels full of Canadians enjoying the warmer weather, but as Safe Boating Awareness Week starts across the country, experts are reminding the public about how to stay safe this summer. – May 19, 2024

The May long weekend not only marks the unofficial start of summer in 2024, but it’s also Safe Boating Awareness Week.

Across B.C., officials are reminding boaters to be safe while having fun on local waterways.

“We want to make sure that everyone returns home safely, which is why understanding and adhering to safety measures is crucial,” said RCMP Staff Sgt. Ross Lundie.

Click to play video: 'Traffic Tips: Guide to towing a boat safely on B.C. roads'
Traffic Tips: Guide to towing a boat safely on B.C. roads

The week runs across Canada, May 18 to 24, but it began with a tragic start this year, with three people dying and five others injured when two boats collided near Kingston, Ont., on Saturday night.

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Ontario Provincial Police say the crash happened around 9:30 p.m., on Bobs Lake, and involved an open-bow fishing boat and a speed boat.

Two women, ages 21 and 22, and a man, 23, were pronounced dead at the scene. The five injured people ranged in age between 21 and 44.

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The Canadian Safe Boating Council says while boating season is just beginning for the year, “a key issue as the boating season begins is, for now, you can expect fewer boaters on the water, so there will be less chance of having help close at hand if you run into trouble.”

Click to play video: 'Tips for staying safe on the water this boating awareness week'
Tips for staying safe on the water this boating awareness week

Below are safety reminders from the Safe Boating Council.

Wear a lifejacket

  • More than 80 per cent of Canadians who drown while boating were not wearing their 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.
  • In some provinces, being convicted of impaired operation will also affect your automobile licence.

Brush up on boating basics

  • Powerboat operators need a pleasure craft operator card or equivalent proof of know-how.
  • Don’t stop there; delve deeper into specialized training. For example, paddle sports enthusiasts can dive into on-water lessons.

Ready, set, sail

  • Ensure both you and your craft are shipshape.
  • Know your route, pack essential safety gear, check weather forecasts, top up fuel, and file a trip plan.
  • Keeping trouble at bay doesn’t just keep you safe; it lightens the load on rescue crews.

Be cold-water safe

  • Cold water can severely impact your swimming ability or even stay afloat.
  • Even the best swimmers will feel the effects of a sudden cold-water immersion.
Click to play video: 'Safety precautions urged as boating season arrives'
Safety precautions urged as boating season arrives

“We invite all boaters, whether seasoned mariners or first-timers, to brush up on their safety knowledge,” Lundie said. “We want to ensure a safe, fun and incident-free boating season.”

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Mike Dean, chairperson of the Canadian Safe Boating Council, added: “Safe boating isn’t just a week-long focus — it’s a year-round commitment. Whether it’s a leisurely cruise or a thrilling adventure, always wear your lifejacket and ensure everyone on board does, too.”

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