Boating Safety Tips from CBSC

Canadian Safe Boating Council has posted some great tips for spring and summer boating. 

It all begins with a pre-departure list, which you should complete before you head out on the water. Take a few minutes to walk around your boat and carry out a visual inspection to ensure your boat and engine are in good shape and mechanically sound.

Pre-departure checklist:

  • Lifejackets/Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) – wear them. Have one Canadian approved lifejacket/PFD for everyone on board. Make sure they are in good condition, no rips or broken zippers or straps. They must be properly sized to fit each person on board.
  • Be sure you have all the required safety equipment and that it is in good working order. The same applies for any additional equipment that you are carrying.
  • Fuel: check your tank and spare fuel. Running out of fuel accounts for more than half the calls for boater-assistance. When tracking your fuel reserves, keep in mind this rule of thumb: 1/3 out, 1/3 back and 1/3 reserve.
  • Brief your passengers on the location and use of all safety equipment including communication equipment.
  • Position passengers and cargo such that their weight is evenly distributed.
  • Check and monitor the weather.

Condition of your boat:

  • CHECK …
    • for hull damage:
    • the electrical, mechanical, fuel and cooling systems
    • throttle and steering are working properly
    • the oil levels and oil/water filters
    • all hoses and water lines
    • the battery for full charge
    • all drain plugs and carry spares for all through hull fittings
    •  your load distribution for all equipment and passengers
  • Run the blower for at least 4 minutes before starting the engine(s) and check for proper air flow.

When it comes to extra equipment, consider the following:

Spare clothing in a watertight bag:

  • If you will be on the water for more than a few hours, you may want to have spare clothing in a watertight bag. Don’t forget hats and clothing for foul weather. An extra set of clothing will be very welcome if you get wet and need a change.

Tool kits and spare parts:

  • You may need to make repairs when you’re out on the water. Take along a tool kit and spare parts like fuses, bulbs, flashlight batteries, a spare propeller, nuts and bolts, penetrating oil, duct tape and spark plugs.

First aid equipment:

  • While boating, you may be far from medical help, so take a first aid kit with you. Store it in a dry place and replace used and outdated contents regularly. Pack it to meet your specific needs. Don’t forget the sunscreen.

Drinking water and high energy snacks:

  • Having drinking water and non-perishable snacks on board will help keep passengers properly nourished and hydrated should you encounter a minor breakdown which delays your return. It may also be all that’s needed to pacify younger children who are getting restless.

The 7P’s: 

In the Air Force we regularly used an expression that sums this up nicely.

Proper Preparation and Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

Even well trained and prepared boaters need to be ready for the unexpected and that starts with having the right insurance coverage.


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