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Boating & Fishing Safety Tips
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Fishing and boating are exciting family-oriented activities that can be both fun and educational. They can also be quite dangerous, especially when we lack awareness or are not properly prepared. It is for this reason that British Columbia now mandates a BC boating license regardless of boat size and other aspects. In fact, this kind of regulation is now popular throughout Canada and the United States because the statistics show that it saves lives.
Tip 1: Take A Safety Course
The one-time course required for a boating license is a good start, but it is not nearly enough if we intend consistent long-term safety for our families. In order to do that, we need to be proactive concerning safety, and that includes a commitment to safety education. The moment we become complacent, we put ourselves at the greatest risk. So at least once every year, take advantage of those free local safety courses and make it a family affair.
Tip 2: Be Aware
Never lose sight of the small stuff, and it is particularly important to stress this point to children. When we take our fishing to the boat, especially if we are new to it, we tend to focus on the big safety issues. But general fishing safety is still very important, and overlooking a small detail can create a much larger problem. Everyone should clean messes immediately, keep their tackle organized and wear hats, shoes and sunscreen in addition to life jackets.
Tip 3: Be Prepared
When preparing for your trip, never make assumptions. Check and recheck that the boat has all of the required safety equipment in operable shape. If boating and fishing outside of your home region, familiarize yourself with the boating and fishing regulations in that area, and make sure you conform to them. Before departing, go over each safety device with the family, and allowing children to play the role of “instructor” is a good way to avoid boredom.
Tip 4: No Alcohol
While boating, never drink alcohol. Even small amounts can diminish mental faculties and motor skills in a way that can prove detrimental during an emergency. Never overload a boat. Know precisely how much weight your boat can handle safely. Stay beneath that mark, and distribute the weight evenly. Passengers should not be in the habit of standing or walking around. Also, always travel slowly at night or while in shallow water or areas with hazards.
Lastly, personal flotation devices (PFDs), or life vests or life jackets, should be available for everyone who is on the boat. Each passenger should know how to properly use and maintain their PFD, and they should wear it at all times, not just when danger is apparent. However, we should not overly rely on our PFDs. Passengers on boats should know how to swim, and it is an additional danger to everyone involved to have a non-swimmer on board.