5 tips to stay safe on the water this summer

(NC) After a long winter in isolation, we’re itching more than ever to get back on the water this year. But in the excitement to launch, it’s important to keep sight of how to do so safely. Keep yourself and loved ones safe on the water this season with these simple tips.

1. Keep your safety equipment up to date.

It’s easy to let old equipment and maintenance fall by the wayside. The start of each boating season should begin with a thorough check of your lifejackets, emergency lights, bailing gear and other vital safety equipment. It’s a simple habit that can save lives.

2. Know the water before you go out.

Too many boaters have run up on shoals or been swamped by waves too large for their vessel to handle. Before you leave dock, make sure you know your planned route, as well as the water depth and location of any rocks. Water levels change year to year, and even throughout the season. Use a navigation app whenever possible to stay up to date on the changing safe channels.

3. Keep a close eye on the weather forecast.

Out on the water, weather conditions can change quickly, turning a sunny joyride into a dangerous attempt to get back to shore. Avoid getting caught in the storm by maintaining a close eye on the weather radar. There are a number of free apps that provide current conditions, as well as marine forecasts for boaters.

4. Learn your emergency numbers.

If you see a hazard or an accident on the water, call the Canadian Coast Guard emergency number — it can mean the difference between life and death. The numbers vary from province to province, so make sure you have the right number for your region. Have a physical backup of the number laminated in your vessel in case you need to call from an unfamiliar phone.

5. Register a marine emergency beacon.

If you get into trouble, you won’t be without assistance. The Canadian Coast Guard search and rescue teams are ready to leap to your aid, but they need to be able to find you and know an emergency has happened. Make sure you register your Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) with the Canadian Beacon Registry and keep your contact information up to date. In case of an emergency, rescuers will immediately know exactly where you are and will arrive sooner.

Find more information at ccg-gcc.gc.ca/emergency.

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