Prevent Boating Accidents with these 8 Tips - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers

Prevent Boating Accidents with these 8 Tips


Whether using canoes, sailboats, kayaks or powered boats, people throughout Ontario and other parts of Canada have taken to the waters to make boating a popular recreational activity. A study released by the Canadian Red Crossattributes 40 percent of drowning deaths to be related to boating activities. One of the recommendations in the Red Cross report is for the use of personal floatation devices by everyone when on the water. Here are 10 tips boaters should use to prevent boating accidents.

Tip 1: Wear a personal floatation device

Of the 40 percent of drowning deaths attributed to boating, 87 percent of the victims were not wearing a personal floatation device or did not have it properly secured on them. Wearing a lifejacket or PFD can save a person’s life.

Tip 2: Boating and alcohol don’t mix

Alcohol consumption is a factor in 40 percent of the boating fatalities occurring on Canadian waters. Operation of a boat while under the influence of alcohol is a criminal offence that can lead to the boat operator’s arrest. Alcohol consumption can cause a boater to experience the following:

  • Diminished judgment
  • Reduction of motor skills
  • Impaired vision and depth perception
  • Impaired balance
  • Increased risk of hypothermia

There is no safe amount of alcohol a person operating a boat can or should consume. Consumption of alcohol by an operator while a boat is underway is a criminal offence.

Tip 3: Take a boating safety course

Knowing the rules of the waterways helps make boating safer. All recreational boaters in Canada are required to obtain a Pleasure Craft Operator Card to prove their competency in basic boating safety following the taking and passing of a test offered by a Transport Canada authorized course and test provider.

Tip 4: Equip the boat with proper safety and emergency equipment

In addition to a life jacket for each person on the boat, other equipment should include the following:

  • First aid kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Flares or other form of visual distress signal
  • Air horn or other audible signaling device
  • Marine radio or a cellphone to call for assistance in the event of an emergency
  • Flashlight and extra batteries

Tip 5: Check weather forecasts before venturing out

The weather might look nice now, but it can change very quickly and turn calm waters into dangerous seas very quickly. Boaters should check the forecast before they go out and throughout the day to avoid any surprises.

Tip 6: Make sure the boat is ready for the water

Fuel and engine oil levels should be checked before going out on the water. Running lights, bumpers and ropes, and the bilge pump should be inspected to make certain they are all in proper condition. Boaters planning to venture considerable distances from the shore should have enough water and food aboard for everyone on the boat.

Tip 7: Pay attention when operating the boat

Collisions with other boats, docks, swimmers or objects in the water can have tragic consequences. Boaters should keep their eyes on the water when they are underway.

Tip 8: Don’t speed

Boaters might be tempted to speed once they are away from marinas or harbours and in the open waters, but a speeding boat is difficult to control and might not allow the operator enough time to react to other vessels or objects.

Boating accident victims could be entitled to compensation

The experienced personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond have offices located throughout Ontario to provide knowledgeable legal advice and skilled representation to individuals injured in boating accidents. Call our 24/7 personal injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to one of our team members. We offer free consultations and case evaluations.

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