Beginner Boating Tips
If you're a regular camper, you may get a little envious of the people spending their summer days on the lake. If you live near a lake you may be thinking it's the perfect opportunity to take advantage of your location. Ask anyone who owns a boat and they'll tell you that some of their best times are spent out on the water, whether it's fishing, watersports, or just cruising around. If you're jumping in and buying a boat, here are some beginner boating tips to help you out.
Tip #1 - Get Your License
If you want to drive your boat, you'll need a license, known as a Pleasure Craft Operator Card, or PCOC. To get this, you'll need to take a test approved by Transport Canada, who also recommend taking a safety course. There are many vendors that offer both. Once you pass, this license is yours for life. For more information, click here.
Tip #2 - Remember Your Checklist
Safety is the number one priority on the water. Be sure that you're prepared for any possibility and that you and your passengers are behaving in a safe manner. One way to do this is to follow a pre-departure checklist such as this one which goes through fire safety, fueling up procedures, and what to do if someone falls overboard.
Tip #3 - Pay Attention to the Weather
One rule every boater has to follow before heading out on the water is to always check the local weather conditions. If you notice darkening clouds, high winds, or sudden drops in temperature, don’t head out on the water. If you’re already on the lake and the weather starts to turn, then it’s time to get home.
Tip #4 - Let Someone Know Your Plan
Even if you’re only going out on a short trip, always let someone else know your boating plans. Let them know who you’re boating with, where you plan on going and for how long. Also, make sure this person has a number they can use to reach you, just in case there’s a problem. Let them know you'll contact them once you're back and if you haven't done so after a certain time to contact emergency services.
Tip #5 - Use Your Lifejackets
Lifejackets save lives. Make sure each person on your boat has a properly fitting lifejacket before you leave the dock. Ensure they keep them on. It doesn't matter how strong of a swimmer they are.
Tip #6 - Use Common Sense
The same rules apply on the water as on roads: don’t speed, steer clear of larger vessels and never drink and drive. Just like in a car, these can carry heavy penalties if you're caught.
Tip #7 - Get Boat Insurance
Boat insurance will not only protect your boat in case of theft, vandalism, fire, or accident, it will also cover you if someone gets hurt while on your boat. Talk to your broker today about the benefits and cost of this important coverage.
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