Canada is infamous for its long, cold winters, and now that April has finally arrived, it’s easy to feel tempted to get a head start on the 2021 boating season. However, you shouldn’t rush out onto your nearest lake before taking some simple precautions.
At Innovative Outdoors, we believe in the importance of boat safety – even for lifelong boating enthusiasts. Before you go boating in Canada this year, read on to learn our top safety tips for the early 2021 boating season.
Wait For Ice To Melt
You’ve already been waiting months to get out on the water – what’s a few more days or weeks? If you don’t know what you’re doing, attempting to break ice with your boat could end up damaging its hull. Your best bet is to hold off until slightly warmer weather arrives and melts the ice entirely.
Keep Your Boat Well-Maintained
Nothing puts a damper on the start of boating season more than discovering problems with your boat, but it’s best to find these issues before you’ve left the dock. With that in mind, take time to do a quick maintenance check this spring.
While getting ready for your first outing of the 2021 boating season, inspect your boat for damage, check that important components are fully functional, and clean/tighten any electrical connections.
Double-Check Safety Equipment
As the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Plan ahead by making sure your boat’s stocked with all the safety equipment you might need. After all, it’s better to buy potentially life-saving supplies you might not use than to be caught without them in a crisis.
If you need a refresher on what types of safety equipment should be stocked on a boat, here are a few of the essentials:
- Life jackets that are approved by the Canadian Coast Guard
- A flashlight (with extra batteries)/approved flares
- An anchor
- A whistle and mirror to signal for help
- Duct tape
- A first aid kit
Read Up On The Rules
Just because something’s not interesting doesn’t mean it’s not important, and that’s definitely the case for Canadian boating regulations. If you don’t want to get in trouble, you’ll want to do some homework first. Fortunately, it’s easy to find this information online.
Before you head out on the water, you’ll need to get a Pleasure Craft License from your province. This free license will associate your boat with a unique number, which is used to enforce regulations and locate boats in emergency situations.
You’ll also need to be cautious of your speed while boating in Canadian waters. If you’re unsure of the speed limit, keep an eye out for round white signs with a red ring. Take note of any similar signs displaying blue “waves” in a crossed-out circle, as these indicate no-wake zones.
Remember Boating Etiquette
To help boaters avoid collisions or near-misses with other watercraft, Canada has implemented a set of rules much like those that control traffic on dry land. The key to understanding these rules of the “road” is knowing your directions.
If a powered boat approaches your boat’s “port” (left) sector, or if any boat approaches your “stern” (back) sector, maintain your course and speed. If a vessel approaches your boat’s “starboard” (right) sector, stay out of its way.
There’s more to these rules than this basic explanation, of course – follow the link above to learn more. As a rough guideline, however, you’ll do well to keep this in mind.
Enjoy Your Early Boating Season!
Once you’ve completed these steps, there’s just one thing left to do – start off another great boating season! We hope the boat safety tips featured here will help you make the 2021 boating season one you’ll remember for years to come.
Want to take your experience boating in Canada to the next level? If so, consider our boat ramp systems! These budget-friendly ramps allow you to move your watercraft in and out of the water with rollers – they’re easy to use, and they can work almost anywhere.