July 31, 2009 13:13 ET

Boaters: Stay Safe During the Long Weekend

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 31, 2009) - As thousands of Canadians head out onto the water this Civic Holiday long weekend to participate in some form of recreational boating, Transport Canada's Office of Boating Safety has the following tips to help boaters stay safe:

Wear a lifejacket: In approximately 80% of boating fatalities the victim was not wearing a lifejacket. Lifejackets have come a long way in recent years - no more bulky, orange life preservers. Today's lifejackets are comfortable, slim-fitting and stylish.

Be prepared: Anything can happen on the water and there might not be anyone around to help you out. Inspect your equipment; check the weather forecast; leave a trip plan with a responsible person; carry your marine charts; and ensure you have the minimum gear required for your vessel size. Most boats need a floating heaving line, flares and/or a flashlight, a manual bilge pump or bailer, navigation lights, paddles, an anchor, a fire extinguisher, a whistle or horn and lifejackets.

Get your Pleasure Craft Operator Card: Operators of powered recreational boats are required by law to have basic boating knowledge. By September 2009, all boat operators must have their proof of competency. The best way to get your proof of competency is to take a safe boating course. Courses are offered by accredited course providers. For a list of course providers, please visit Note: Northwest Territories and Nunavut are exempt from the Pleasure Craft Operator Card requirements.

Don't cruise with booze: When you drink and boat you are not just a danger to yourself. Operators are responsible for the safety of their guests and should consider other users of the waterway. In addition to being punishable under the Criminal Code, mixing alcohol and boating is far more dangerous than you may realize. Fatigue, sun, wind and the motion of the boat dull your senses. Alcohol intensifies these effects, leaving you with poorer fine motor skills and impaired judgment.

Help the thousands of Canadians who enjoy boating do so safely by following these simple safety tips.

For more information on boating safety, how to get your Pleasure Craft Operator Card, and to order your copy of the new edition of the Safe Boating Guide, check out the Office of Boating Safety's website at and make sure you sign up for the Office of Boating Safety electronic mailing list for updates.

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Contact Information

  • Chris Day
    Press Secretary
    Office of Canada's Transport Minister, John Baird,
    Media Relations
    Transport Canada, Ottawa