Boating safety a must

With the warm B.C. summer in sight, boaters around the province are heading out on the water again; leading police to issue a reminder on boating safety.

“Now is a great time to remind people of their responsibilities when they head out on the water,”  Corporal Mike Schmeisser said.

“A few minutes spent before you head out on the water can save your life.”

Boat operators are responsible for the safety of everyone onboard their vessel, including themselves.

Basic safety equipment, emergency equipment, and a sober operator are a must.

While the exact equipment required onboard a vessel varies depending on the type and size, some common requirements include:

• One properly fitting personal flotation device (PFD) for every person onboard, regardless of age.

• A bailer or manual bilge pump.

• A re-boarding device.

• A buoyant heaving line.

Vessel operators are reminded that drinking and boating is a crime and carries the same penalties under the criminal code as drinking and driving.

Everyone operating the vessel is required to have a valid operator’s license, and remain sober.

Police around the province will be on the waters on long weekends and other times. Boaters should expect to see police boats of varying sizes, and may be stopped for a routine check of required equipment, and licensing.

“When our officers check boaters, they will be looking for the required safety

equipment and will ensure that the operator is sober, and properly licensed,”  Schmeisser said.

“Our efforts are as much about education as they are about enforcement, so while fines are possible, our focus will be on ensuring a safe environment for all the users of our lakes and waterways.”

For a complete Safe Boating Guide visit the Transport Canada website, www.tc.gc.ca.