The May long weekend kicks off National Safe Boating Awareness Week.
Here in the Okanagan, Transport Canada and its enforcement partners, the RCMP, Conservation Officer Service and Fisheries and Ocean’s Canada, will be out on the water actively promoting safe boating and conducting compliance checks.
Multi-agency, on-water projects are planned for the Okanagan and Shuswap areas, with the focus on public safety and ensuring the boating season gets off to a fatality and injury free start.
Impaired operation of a motorized vessel is a Criminal Code offense and is the cause of many of the boating accidents and deaths in B.C., especially in the Okanagan/Shuswap.
Boaters should be aware of the dangers and real consequences of drinking and boating.
The water temperature on local lakes and rivers is very cold this time of year and cold water shock is the leading cause of boating deaths for those who find themselves overboard in the early part of the boating season.
Wearing a PFD (Personal Floatation Device) at all times when on the water will save your life if you find yourself overboard, separated from your boat, in cold water.
Cold water shock causes the human body to inhale one litre of water during an initial, uncontrollable gasp reflex.
After inhaling one litre of water a person is no longer buoyant and will sink below the surface unless a PFD is being worn.
The Canada Shipping Act and the Collision Regulations govern safe navigation the water.
All boaters must know the “rules of the road” and how to avoid a collision.
These rules of the road include always having a proper lookout and using safe speed for the conditions.
All collisions are avoidable; boaters on our busy waterways must be aware of all other boaters around them, especially those operating human powered craft such as canoes, kayaks and stand up paddleboards.
Be sure to carry your Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) when operating a power boat.
You will be asked to produce your PCOC and government issued photo ID when checked by law enforcement on the water.
All required safety equipment will checked and must be readily accessible.
Fines for most boating offenses in B.C. range from $115 to $575.
For safe boating information, check out the websites www.boatingsafety.gc.ca and www.coldwaterkills.com.