When summer hits, there’s no better time to go boating on a nice, cool body of water. It’s also the time when hundreds of other boaters have the same idea. Summer boating is great fun, but there are some things you’ll need to take into consideration before you get your boat on the water.
First, remember that there will be many other boaters on the water at the same time as you. Brush up on the Collision Regulations and pay special attention to those boaters around you. The Regulations are introduced in the Basic Standard and expanded in the Intermediate Standard. Visit our Web pages for sailors and power boaters.
Pay special attention to your boat in the hot summer months. It’s hot outside and the engine is hot as well. Check the boat’s fluids before departure so you don’t run the risk of the engine overheating leaving you stranded.
Make sure that you stay well hydrated. In the hot weather, you lose fluid quickly. Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol. Alcohol has a dehydrating effect and will deplete the fluids from your body much more quickly than normal.
The weather can change in an instant, so be sure to pay close attention to the weather forecast. By listening to Channel 16 on the VHF radio, you will be notified of any major weather changes. A good practice is to check the forecast around noon. You certainly won’t want to be stuck miles off shore when that freak summer storm hits. Don’t play games with the weather – especially in the summer. Your safety depends on it! To legally transmit on the VHF Radio, you are required to have a Radio Operator Certificate.
Even though it’s hot, you still need to wear a personal flotation device (PFD). This is especially true with children. Almost all drownings occur when a person goes overboard and is not wearing a PFD. A little discomfort from the heat is well worth paying the price when you consider you could be compromising your life.
Summer is definitely the best time of the year to go boating. As long as you keep your safety rules in mind, fun is just around the corner. Summer boating is also a great time to get your family together and enjoy a day on the water. What a way to beat the heat!
P.S. Whether you choose to inform a family member or staff at your local marina, always be sure let someone else know your float plan in terms of where you’re going and how long you’re going to be gone. A float plan can include the following information: name, address, and phone number of trip leader: name and number of all passengers; boat type and registration information; trip itinerary; types of communication and signal equipment onboard. It’s also a good idea to check in whenever you arrive at a port. Upon return home, be sure to close your float plan.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bruce Stott, co-founder of Gulf Islands Cruising School Ltd. has been a Canadian Yachting Association certified instructor since 1971. He has taught aboard both sail and power boats ranging in size from 8′ to 86′ and is the author of Home Study Coastal Navigation Course