“The Government of Canada remains committed to keeping Canadians safe, particularly during these unprecedented and challenging times. Each year, the launch of the North American Safe Boating Awareness Week is an opportunity to remind all Canadians to put their safety and the safety of their families first, and I know that I can count on recreational boaters to do their part to adhere to safety measures and put into practice the recommendations of local public health authorities to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.”
Marc Garneau (2020), Former Minister of Transport
After the end to the Stay-at-Home order on May 19, 2021, many Canadian residents will return to the water. Currently that’s over 16 million Canadian’s who recreate on the many rivers, lakes and other various bodies of water. As with last season, safety should be a priority with Covid-19 for many who will be traveling.
Stop the Spread
As recommended by the Canadian Government, you should always:
- Stay home if you have symptoms, even if they are mild
- Stay two metres apart from people you don’t live with
- Wear a mask or face covering in indoor public spaces or any time physical distancing is not possible
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Sneeze and cough into your sleeve
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
- Get tested if you think you have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19 before travel
First, one of the most important things to have, is a current pleasure craft license in Ontario for powered boats. It is important to verify to officials your competency for operating your pleasure craft. Also With COVID-19, less people may be out on the water in the spring season. With less people, that means less available help should you experience trouble.
Image source: https://csbc.ca/en/safe-boating-awareness-week
Be prepared before you travel, this includes:
- Be knowledgeable about the water you are navigating
- Know where your safety equipment is and verify functionality
- Check for safe weather
- Ensure there are enough Lifejackets or other types of Personal Floatation Devices (PFD) in your vessel. The more comfortable the better!
- Wear your Lifejacket or PFD, especially during cold water and weather seasons – Over 80% of Canadians who drown while boating did not wear a flotation device according to Red Cross Canada
- Check your fuel levels
- Make sure your engine is serviced and ready for operation
- Boat Sober – Being convicted of impaired operation will also affect your automobile license in Ontario
After having checked off this short safety list, remember to have fun! Boating is a great and rewarding lifelong skill for many Canadians. Boating is a great outlet for many of us wanting to wash away our stress, while still allowing us to social distance.
If you would like to experience boating for yourself or explore somewhere new, give us a call! We would be more than happy to educate and help people safely experience the beauty of the French River.