The Importance of Boating Safety When You're On the Water

By Adriana Noton

Going up North or spending time on a boat anywhere is extremely relaxing. You cruise on the water, feeling the wind in your hair and beautiful scenery passing by and giving way only to similarly beautiful sights. In that tranquility, your mind is at ease. Indeed, that's what you've come for. But there are cautions that must be heeded because boating can be dangerous. Countless lives have been lost because people are lost in the pleasures of boating and don't take necessary precautions. The import of boating safety cannot be overstated.

The first thing is to be cautious in the boat. You may see people on the water driving recklessly, but don't take part in this. People do "doughnuts," or spin in various circles so they can feel themselves going over their own wake. Sometimes people aren't sufficiently far enough away from rocks, either by the shore or those jutting out of the water. These are all things that must be looked out for carefully.

On a boat there are certain items that must be kept should an accident befall your boat. Everybody knows to have a life jacket on board for every member of the crew, and they should be wearing them at all times. Life jackets have saved too many lives to be ignored, but there are other items that need to be stowed away safely: paddles, whistles, a flair gun, flashlights, and others should be kept in a waterproof compartment of the boat. The driver should know where they are and how to use all these things. Also, especially if you're on a big lake, it is extremely handy to have a map aboard in sealed plastic.

It goes without saying that the operator should be sober. People get carried away up at the cottage and sometimes they think they're invincible. Even if you keep to this advisable policy, others may not. It's not a road with straight lines to follow so be careful to keep a safe distance between you and any boats. This is an obvious thing to say, but be mindful that not everyone on the lake is sober and be wary of erratic drivers. Along similar lines, you can be out on the water and everything is fine until the sun starts setting and it becomes harder to see. Plan your boat trips with sunshine in mind, and if it starts getting darker out be careful to start heading home. Along similar lines, a disproportionate amount of traffic accidents happen within ten kilometers of home, and your boat isn't safe until it's safely tied and everyone's out. This means ensuring that nobody is swimming in the water nearby when you pull in.

The last thing you really want to have occupying your mind when you're up north is boating safety. You likely already know the things above, but the trick is to constantly remind yourself of these things so you don't get complacent on the water. Have fun and be safe.

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