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Boating safety tips from Red Cross

By Caitlin Snow Apr 12, 2023 | 6:00 PM

Paul Einerhand / Unsplash

Now that we are finally into spring, the Red Cross has some tips on boating safety.

In addition to a Pleasure Craft Operating Card, these things are what you should have with you at a bare minimum.

-Canadian-approved flotation device or lifejacket of appropriate size for each passenger on board
-Buoyant heaving line at least 15 metres in length
-Watertight flashlight OR Canadian approved flares – Type A,B or C
-Sound-signaling device
-Manual propelling device (i.e. paddle) OR an anchor with at least 15 metres of rope, chain or cable
-Bailer OR manual water pump
-Class 5 BC fire extinguisher

Carry these items:
-First Aid Kit
-Drinking water
-Dry clothing (i.e. long-sleeved shirt)
-Waterproof matches

Regarding alcohol:
-37% of boaters in Canada admit to consuming alcohol every time they boat.
-66% report they drink alcohol sometimes when boating.
-Alcohol is a factor in over 40% of recreational boating fatalities.

They say it can affect the boater:
-diminishes judgment and the ability to process information,
-reduces motor skills, peripheral vision and balance,
-slows reaction and reflex response time,
-reduces depth perception, vision and focus,
-disturbs the inner ear thus reducing your ability to distinguish the water surface if you fall in, and
-accelerates hypothermia.


-Wait until you are off the water before consuming alcohol. Remember, if you drink after a day of boating, be sure you have a designated driver for your vehicle.
-A person who has consumed alcohol or drugs should not be operating a boat
-Provide non-alcoholic beverages for boat operators and passengers.
-Wear lifejackets or Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs). It’s the law to carry one that fits each person in the vessel, but Red Cross recommends wearing it every trip, for the whole trip.


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