Top tips for boating beginners

(NC) Nothing says summer in Canada like cruising across a glass-like lake in the morning. But it’s easy to lose sight of the risks if you are unprepared. Keep yourself and your family safe by following these top boating safety tips:

Check and maintain your boat.

Making necessary repairs early can help you avoid more costly fixes down the line and keep you from getting stranded on the water if your boat dies. At least once a year check your boat from bow to stern. Check the hull for any signs of damage, tune up the engine, and look at the electrical cables, batteries, and fuel lines for signs of damage or leaks. Make repairs using only ignition-protected parts and materials that are suitable for use in marine environments.

Know the waterway and check for restrictions

Reefs, stumps, rocks, changing water levels, and sandbars are examples of hazards you need to know about. Carry local marine charts if available or ask someone who knows the area about any hidden dangers. You should also check for any vessel operation restrictions on the waterways where you plan to go boating. Follow all posted speed limits and the universal shoreline speed restriction, which is 10 kilometres per hour within 30 metres of shore on all waters in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and the inland waters of British Columbia and Nova Scotia.

Fuel up safely

Boats running out of gas is one of the top reasons boaters call for assistance. This situation is easy to avoid by always checking your fuel levels before leaving the dock. Remember the golden rule: 1/3 to go, 1/3 to return, and 1/3 in reserve.

When fueling, always mop up spills and watch for leaks to avoid fire hazards. Also keep in mind that gas vapours are extremely explosive and are difficult to remove if they accumulate. Always run your blower for at least four minutes before starting your motor.

Learn more about safe boating from the Transport Canada Office of Boating website at

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