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Nicole Ludwig

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Water Safety Wednesdays: Getting Ready for Summer – Boating

Now that spring is officially here, many people will be getting prepared for summer, whether that’s prepping the backyard pool, or getting the cottage at the lake ready for summer weekends. I’d like to make a plea that you put water safety first and foremost. I’ve helped compile the statistics; I know how many people die needlessly every year through drowning. While that number has been going down over the years, it’s not at zero yet.

So if you’re getting your boat ready for summer:

  • Get a pleasurecraft license.
  • Make sure you have proper safety equipment. Transport Canada has a list of what you need depending on the type of boat you are using
  • Have your boat inspected for leaks and any other damage
  • Fork out the money to have the boat repaired, already
  • Get educated on how to be a safe boater (if your kids have been taking swimming lessons, it’s likely they know some of this)
  • Have some float plans ready in a convenient place. It’s really important to let someone know, where you’re going, who you’re going with and what time you’re expected back at the very least. That way, they can call for help if you don’t return
  • Be smart: don’t drink and boat. Most boating related accidents have some alcohol involvement.

On a side note, did you know that most boating accidents occur 50 m or less from shore or another point of safety? So being able to swim 50 m in open water might be a good idea.

So in all your summer boating fun this year, play it safe: get everything ready before you go; be prepared – it’s much easier, and less costly in so many ways, to never have an accident than dealing with the fallout from one.

Disclaimer: this series does not represent the ideas of the Canadian Red Cross, the Lifesaving Society or any other body. They represent only my own knowledge and opinions from years of teaching swimming and water safety.

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