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Boat Safety Tips from the MNRF

Boat safety is incredibly important and Conservation officers want to remind you that life jackets save lives.

Did you know wearing a life jacket or personal floatation device can save your life? 

Over 65% of all preventable fatal drownings take place in rivers and lakes and that’s why Ontario’s conservation officers are reminding the public to be safe on Ontario waters.

Boat Safety Tips:

  • Always remember to wear a personal floatation or a life jacket
  • Take a boating course
  • Don’t operate a boat while impaired
  • Inspect your vessel and safety equipment before going out on the water
  • Be aware of the dangers of being in cold water in the early spring

Ontario’s conservation officers inspect marine safety equipment and patrol various locations for your protection. With your help, Ontario can have a safe boating season.

Remember, if you see a natural resource violation be sure to call the ministry TIPS line at 1-877-847-7667 toll-free anytime or contact your local MNRF office. You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

The ministry supports important campaigns like the National Safe Boating Awareness Week May 18-24, 2019.

3 Replies to “Boat Safety Tips from the MNRF”

  1. The most overlooked danger in boat safety is refueling your watercraft. Every year we hear of people negligently triggering a boat explosion while gassing up resulting in major damage and even death. Here are a few tips that will save your life.

    1) Secure your boat to the dock.
    2) Switch off engines.
    3) Make certain all persons not involved in fueling are on shore.
    4)Extinguish all open flames.
    5) No smoking.
    6)Switch off electrical equipment.
    7) Ports, hatches and doors closed.
    8) Portable tanks must be refueled on shore.
    9) Hold nozzle firmly against fill pipe opening to prevent sparks.
    10) Do not over fill.
    11) Wipe up all spillage.
    12) Open ports hatches and door; operate blower for at least four minutes immediately before
    every startup.
    13) Never store oily rags on board.

    A few little known tips :

    When a sailboat uses it’s engine, it is legally a power boat. This is true even if it is using it’s sails. at the same time the engine is running. As a power boat, it is subject to “power boat” Regulations. When motoring, it loses any privileges due to boats that are under sail.

    Boats equipped with exhaust pipes ejecting directly into the air are not permitted to operate within five miles of shore. When operating withing five miles of shore, noise abatement mechanisms, mufflers, must be in use at all times.

    Learn how to signal a distress situation in all conditions, day and night. Buy the Distress Signalling D.V.D. and book from Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons. 1-888-CPS-BOAT.

    Canadian Power ans Sail Squadrons offer Marine Radio (V.H.F.), a course leading to a radiotelephone operator’s restricted certificate. Just what you need to operate a V.H.F., M.F. or marine band radio.

    Even though your boat may be equipped with an automatic extinguishing system, you are still required to carry the required number of portable extinguishers. It is important to be familiar with their operation and place them where they are readily available.

    A small boat should never be anchored over the stern or side because it may be swamped by waves or drawn under by a strong current.

    When driven in reverse, boats with a single engine tend to pull to port or starboard, depending on whether the propeller has a right or left-handed rotation. You should be aware of your boat’s tendencies.

    Never tie a boat securely to a bollard or ring in a canal lock, because there is danger of a capsize as the water levels changes.

    Where there is only a short distance between canal locks, boats are locked through in groups and boat masters notify one another. Nothing is gained by speeding between locks. It simply means a longer wait at the next dock.

    Practice changing the tires on your boat trailer. Don’t get caught off guard. Make sure your jack fits under your boat trailer properly. Ensure you have all the proper types and sizes of wrenches.

    Never go anywhere in your vehicle without some window cleaner and rags. Make it a habit to clean you windshield, back up cameras and other sensors.

    When you are backing up to launch your boat, take it slow and precise. Going slow will give you more time to make any needed adjustments.

    Adding a cleat to the boat winch area on your boat trailer is like giving yourself a second pair of hands. It helps when you launching or trailering your boat.

    When out fishing, have a “Man Overboard Plan”. Make sure everyone knows where the extra life jackets. “Rescue Sticks” and throw ropes are located. Ensure everyone knows how to control the watercraft and turn the motor off and on. Don’t panic. Stay calm.

    Finally, remember it is the law that all boat operators have and be in possession of their boating at all times.

    There should be no excuse for complacency. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Your life depends on it.

  2. Have you ever wondered where the terms “Port” and “Starboard” originated? Well, to a former Sea Dog such as myself, it is just a matter of logistics.

    Ancient mariners came up with the terminology when docking their ships. It was a means of protecting the ships rudder or what they called the “Steer Board”. All vessels at the time would be constructed with their rudders on the right side of the stern (starboard side). They would then inevitably secure their vessels to the dock on the left side of the ship (the port side) Thereby, this prevented any damage to the rudder from wave action slamming the ship into the dock.

    Port as you see, actually means the port side or docking side of a vessel. Whereas Starboard refers to the Steer Board side of the vessel. “Steer board” became Starboard because of old seafarers accent variations and other such verbal oddities.

    The term “Port Hole” now becomes obvious. But what about the Holes (windows) on the Starboard side of the ship? Should they be called Starboard holes? In all logical sense, they are indeed Starboard holes.

    Aye there Matey, “Batten down them hatches! We be in for a bit of a blow!”

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