Police target safe boating

Stay safe on the water this summer, remind police who will be out there with boaters.

“Safe Boating Awareness week is a great opportunity to remind people of their responsibilities when they head out on the water,” said Cpl. Mike Schmeisser, of the RCMP West Coast Marine Service. “A few minutes spent before you head out on the water, can save your life.”

Boat operators are responsible for the safety of everyone onboard their vessel, including themselves.  Basic safety equipment, emergency equipment, and a sober operator are a must.

While the exact equipment required onboard a vessel varies depending on the type and size, some common requirements include: one properly fitting personal flotation device for every person on board; a bailer or manual bilge pump; a re-boarding device; a buoyant heaving line.

Drinking and boating is a crime, and carries the same penalties under the criminal code as drinking and driving.

Everyone operating the vessel is required to have a valid operator’s license.

“When our officers check boaters, they will be looking for the required safety equipment, and will ensure that the operator is sober, and properly licensed,” Schmeisser said. “Our efforts are as much about education as they are about enforcement, so while fines are possible, our focus will be on ensuring a safe environment for all the users of our lakes and waterways.

For a complete Safe Boating Guide visit the Transport Canada website www.tc.gc.ca.

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