Boating in the fall offers colourful vistas, quiet anchorages and excellent fishing but it is not without its challenges that necessitate self-sufficiency and taking some additional precautions to keep from running into trouble.
The Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) and the B.C. Wildlife Federation want to remind all boaters enjoying the fall season on the water to follow these tips to ensure that their excursions are both safe and enjoyable.
Before heading out, be sure to check the weather forecast. Fog, too, is an issue at this time of year making visibility difficult. Should boaters find themselves in a fog bank, they should proceed slowly and sound their horn at regular intervals to alert other boaters of their presence.
Well into October, daytime temperatures can occasionally be balmy but dressing for the water temperature will help slow the onset of hypothermia should the unexpected happen and the boater find himself in the water. Accidental cold water immersion can be shocking, but they shouldn’t panic. This is where an approved lifejacket is an essential part of a boater’s wardrobe to keep them afloat after they can no longer swim.
In the fall, there are fewer boats on the water to offer assistance, if needed. Boaters should be sure to leave a float plan with a responsible person on shore who will know what to do if they’re overdue. A marine radio or cell phone will allow them to call for assistance should the need arise. Having a few tools and spare parts aboard will also allow them to fix minor problems that might otherwise cause them to be stranded out on the water.
“Spectacular colours, peaceful solitude and the crispness of the air make boating in the fall a wondrous experience,” says Jean Murray, Chair of the Canadian Safe Boating Council. “To make the most of this experience safely, however, boaters need to be extra diligent in their preparations before departing. Most important of these are checking the weather, dressing for the water temperature, wearing a lifejacket and leaving a float plan with a responsible person on shore who can call.”
Visit www.csbc.ca for more tips on boating safety.