With the current warm weather, this is the perfect opportunity to ensure proper preparation for getting into the water with recreational watercraft.
An enjoyable boating experience depends on the ability of owners and operators of pleasure craft to protect their passengers and other boaters from risk and harm and to respect the environment.
Here are some tips from the RCMP to keep you and your passengers safe:
• Demonstrate knowledge and leadership by wearing your lifejacket or PFD and asking all your passengers to do the same. Tragedy can strike in an instant so don’t assume that you will have time to put on a lifejacket. Not wearing a lifejacket, or not having enough life jackets on board for every person can result in a fine upwards of $230.
• Learn all you can about the operation of your vessel and the waterways in which you will be traveling.
• Be constantly aware of changing weather and water conditions and the actions of other boaters.
• Watch your speed — don’t race to the lake and don’t race on the lake. Speed is a major contributor to incidents on the roadways and on the water.
• If you are going to a less-traveled area, let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
• Always remember that alcohol and water don’t mix. Impaired driving laws are the same for operating a boat as they are for a vehicle.
There are safety equipment rules for all types of watercraft, from canoes to yachts. Everyone who operates a power-driven boat in Canada needs proof of competency — something that shows they understand the rules of the water and how to safely operate a boat. Anyone operating a vessel without proof of competency can face fines of $288.
The Cranbrook RCMP will be out on the lakes this summer doing patrols to ensure boaters meet all safety regulations and people are boating in a safe manner.