By Kirk Winter

For almost as long as we have owned our cottage, we have had a powerboat. Although our boats were often easily spotted on the lake because of their age or state of repair, all three of my grown children have very fond cottage memories of tubing, and the two younger boys still look forward to our wild excursions on the lake any time they are at the cottage.

The Lifesaving Society shares that “with so many lakes and rivers, Canadians are avid boaters. Canoes, kayaks, motorboats and houseboats all allow Ontarians to enjoy the water. With many Ontarians on the water fatalities unfortunately occur. Twenty-six percent of all drowning occur during boating activities. Most all of these drownings are preventable.”

Before you put your favourite craft in the water, here are a few reminders to make your boating season safer and more enjoyable:

  • All power craft boaters are required by law to carry a Personal Craft Operator Card

  • There needs to be a lifejacket for every seat occupied in the boat and ideally they should be worn

  • Alcohol consumption while operating a boat is illegal in Ontario and is a major factor in almost all boating accidents in Ontario

  • Drinking and boating can result in the loss of your driver’s license

The Lifesaving Society recommends the following boating safety tips for the summer of 2019:

  • Wear your lifejacket. Most boating fatalities occur when not wearing a lifejacket

  • Lifejackets are not one size fits all. Make sure the jacket fits the person wearing it

  • Most drowning occurs within 15 meters of shore. Wearing a lifejacket alone can save your life

  • Carry a safety kit and it should include a cell phone. Always check the weather before going out

  • Speed on water makes the chances of fatalities in the event of an accident even higher.

Have a fantastic and safe summer on whatever waterway you chose to enjoy, and remember to wear a lifejacket. You won’t regret it!