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Safe Boating: Take Responsibility

(NC) As temperatures rise, summer vacations, BBQs, camping, the cottage, swimming, outdoor sports and getting that boat out on the water are at top of mind for many Canadians.

For many, water activities are a key part of summer life. Taking responsibility for using your boat safely will help you enjoy a long and lazy summer.

Here are some tips to remember:

• Wear a lifejacket or a personal flotation device (PFD): More than 80% of all boating deaths are boaters not wearing lifejackets. Lifejackets only work if you wear them.

• Check the weather before you go: Weather is an important factor when deciding to head out on the water. Be willing to change your plans if the weather conditions change for the worse.

• Tell someone you trust where you are going and when you will be back: Friends and family who know your plans can help organize search and rescue if you’re late.

• Don’t cruise with booze: Drinking when boating is a serious crime.

• Take a boating safety course: Understanding your responsibilities on the water and taking basic safety precautions will reduce your risk of a boating-related incident. Taking the course and passing a test, earns you a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC), which you need to operate a boat with a motor (except in Nunavut and Northwest Territories) – unless you have another proof of competency.

• Be prepared: A boating emergency can happen at any time. Make sure your boat has all required safety equipment on board and know how to use it. Make sure it is in good condition and works well. If you find a problem, fix or replace it before you go.

Have fun boating, but be prepared before you head out on the water. Remember, a little preparation today can prevent a boating emergency tomorrow.

Visit the Transport Canada Office of Boating Safety website at: www.tc.gc.ca/boatingsafety for more information.

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