August, 2010 – As many as nine million Canadians participate in recreational boating each year. About 200 of these people will die in accidents on the water, with another 6,000 suffering non-fatal injuries according to Canadian government statistics.
“During the warm months of summer many Canadians take the opportunity to spend time on the water,” says Amy Woods of Allstate Canada. “While our summers may be short, it’s important to take the time to ensure your boating and swimming experiences are both fun and safe. Taking precautions will let everyone enjoy our lakes for many summers to come.”
To help you stay safe while on the water this summer, Allstate Insurance Company of Canada has created the following boating safety tips:
- If you operate a powered watercraft in Canada, it is Canadian law to carry the Pleasure Craft Operator Card or Pleasure Craft License for all boats fitted with an engine of 10 horsepower or more.
- Ensure your boat is in perfect working order. Check lights, look for damage or cracks and make sure the plugs are in before you put your boat in the water.
- New requirements for safety equipment and pleasure craft licensing came into effect on May 12, 2010. Make sure you are up-to-date and have the proper supplies on board. For more information visit www.tc.gc.ca/eng/marinesafety/debs-obs-menu-1362.htm.
- Check the forecast before you head out. You can’t control the weather but you can be prepared. Bring additional clothing in case the weather changes suddenly.
- Be prepared in the event of an emergency. Know how to send a distress call and who to send it to. Asking for help in an emergency can be the difference between life and death.
- Carry an emergency preparedness kit that contains drinking water, high energy snacks, a flashlight, an air horn, paddles, a bucket, a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher and extra fuel.
- Wear a lifejacket or personal flotation device (PFD) of appropriate size. You will pay $250 for each person that does not have a PFD if you’re stopped by marine patrol. More importantly not wearing a PFD could cost you your life. Statistics show that nearly 90 per cent of those who die in boating accidents were not wearing a lifejacket. If you are knocked unconscious in a boating accident, knowing how to swim won’t help you.
- If you decide to jump overboard to go for a swim, know the water you are jumping into. Some underwater currents are undetectable from the surface.
- According to Allstate data, collision — whether with rocks, piers or other boats — is the most common boating related claim at 36.4 per cent. Respect water ways, follow all signs and buoys and be courteous to other boaters.
- Don’t cruise and booze. Ever. Not only is it illegal, alcohol can have more of an effect on your reaction time if you have been on the water and in the sun.
About Allstate Insurance Company of Canada
Allstate Insurance Company of Canada produces and distributes home and auto insurance products across Canada. “The Good Hands Network(R)” enables consumers to contact Allstate through one of 93 community Agencies, directly online at www.allstate.ca and through the Customer Contact Centre at 1-800-allstate.