July 6, 2022
Every year the Coast Guard reports thousands of boating incidents, many which involve collisions with objects or equipment failures. While most boaters have safety gear on board that is legally required, many do not have the tools and materials on-hand to make a critical repair in case of an emergency.
March 8, 2022
I remember with fondness, our opening days at the cottage when my two sons were young. They couldn’t wait to get into their bathing suits and would go charging down the dock to leap into the lake, only to come charging out seconds later howling from the shock of hitting the cold water.
May 25, 2021
“Do I know how to be found in an emergency?” That’s a question every boater should ask at the beginning of the boating season. The answer, however, is likely to go far beyond simply having a cellphone aboard. The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water offers five tips that can potentially speed a rescuer’s response to a boater in need of emergency help.
November 4, 2020
It looks like Covid 19 has not stopped many people from boating. In fact, 2020 seems to have been a banner year and it looks like 2021 will be the same if not better. So, let me start by looking ahead and wishing everyone a safe and happy boating season for 2021.
May 29, 2020
When every January ebbs and February approaches, Canadians look forward to more hours of sunshine AND actual sunshine. Seeing that sun poke through the clouds on a winter’s day is the most delightful sight in the world and brings with it the hope of spring and the long days on the water to come.
May 26, 2020
Boating safety is always—always—a critical consideration whenever you push off the dock, but with all the recent issues regarding COVID-19, many people are wondering if boating is considered a safe social distancing practice.
June 12, 2019
Have you ever needed on-the-water assistance due to a mechanical breakdown, running aground, taking on water (perhaps from striking a submerged or floating object), having a mishap with another vessel, or have a medical emergency and the authorities are not near…
May 16, 2018
Pyrotechnic distress flares have been around for decades, while electronic strobe distress flares have only been introduced in the last couple of years – and they aren’t Canadian Coast Guard approved for use in Canada, at least not yet.
August 19, 2013
It’s been a long time since I went for an unexpected swim, but it’s happened to me before and it will probably happen again. While losing your balance and hitting the water is bad (really bad if you are carrying an arm load of valuable things), clearly there should be an expectation that this may happen and every boat builder should aptly equip their boats to facilitate reboarding by a person who has fallen overboard.
August 2, 2013
Deviation. Just the sound of that word makes you think that something fishy is going on; some deviant behaviour is taking place onboard your vessel that you can neither see nor hear. It’s there and if you don’t take heed, it will bite you in the backside and usually when it’s a dark and stormy night. So what is it? It is the effect on your magnetic compass from all those metal parts (i.e., engine block, steel tools, electronic gizmos such as radios and wiring) and various magnets (i.e., speakers, electric motor armatures).
May 13, 2013
Intrepid CY volunteers dive in to test the latest PFDs – and find that comfort and style make them more wearable than ever. Is it just my imagination – or are more boaters wearing PFDs more of the time today than they used to? It has been reassuring over the past few years to see life jackets, inflatables, floater garments and similar life-saving gear being worn regularly in settings where the sight would have been rare a decade or two ago.
September 17, 2012
The golden thread that links the aftermath most offshore and distance sailing accidents is the absence of formal safety and survival training. Despite the overwhelming body of evidence that supports that conclusion, North American sailors have been slow to embrace the idea that taking a course and learning how to right a capsized liferaft, proper tether and harness discipline, or how to retrieve a crew overboard from the water is just as important as investing time to teach how to tack without losing boat lengths. For racers it boils down to this: you cannot place if you don’t finish.
April 27, 2012
While the Office of Boating Safety, Transport Canada surprisingly does not list binoculars as part of its mandatory safety equipment, we would suggest that having a good pair on board just makes good sense. Binoculars designed specifically for marine use are traditionally stronger in structure and are, of course, waterproof – or should be. In fact, some models even float. Today, we are going to highlight the key criteria for selecting a pair of binoculars as well as share a few neat features and accessories.
March 6, 2012
Even if you were born on board a boat, there’s probably more knowledge and skills you could gain to help you have more fun next summer. Whatever your interest might be, whether you are a novice hoping to get started or you’re already an expert, there are many learning resources available. At Canadian Yachting magazine, one of our most important partnerships is with the Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons (CPS). If you’re new to boating and don’t know about CPS, they are a national organization, operating in both official languages and they are all about boating knowledge.
October 18, 2011
Capsizings resulted in many recreational boating deaths and injuries in 2010. Practice good seamanship to reduce your risk of capsizing, but if it happens know what to do to ensure that everyone on board gets back safely. If you and your passengers are not wearing life jackets when the boat capsized, try to retrieve any equipment or gear, such as coolers or seat cushions, and improvise flotation. Never attempt to re-enter a capsized vessel. Then consider the most appropriate means to summon help.
October 18, 2011
This past May, Coast Guard surface and air crews conducted an all-night search of the Great Peconic Bay area of Long Island, NY, for a possible missing kite surfer after gear was found floating in the water. The search was suspended after news reports prompted the owner to call to say he was safe. Coast Guard patrols often encounter abandoned and adrift boats and gear. If there is even a small chance a person is in the water, the Coast Guard undertakes search and rescue efforts. If you should find yourself in trouble, here are five actions you can take to increase the chances Search and Rescue will get to you in time.
October 18, 2011
So, who’s afraid of the dark? Well, some boaters should be. We were surprised to walk down the docks at one of Georgian Bay’s popular marinas and found that as many as one boat in five didn’t have a bow mounted spot. How often have you seen the weather settle down, the clouds part and the winds die down to give you an evening of beautiful, calm, sunset cruising conditions? Where I live, it’s pretty common.
August 23, 2011
No one plans for an accident to happen while boating, but if it did, are you prepared? Is there a first aid kit on board? Is it easily accessible and fully stocked? Does anyone on board even know how to use it? Could you be the hero, or will you be just a bystander? Safety can be a hard sell. In Vancouver, Western Marine Company’s Alan Stovell said simply, “There is no requirement for first aid kits for recreational boaters.” He points out while commercial boaters must abide by strict regulations based on the crew and voyage there are no such restrictions for pleasure boaters in Canada, although it’s certainly recommended.
July 12, 2011
For those of you who boat south of the border, the following information bulletin was recently issued by U.S. Customs and Border Protection regarding a new program to permit easier entry of pleasure craft into the U.S. “The Small Vessel Reporting System (SVRS), a voluntary program offered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), helps boaters report their arrival to the U.S. at no charge. The program is designed to expedite entry of legitimate boaters,
January 5, 2011
It’s difficult to comprehend that when we head out on the open water, with a fresh breeze, clear air and nary a boat nearby we could be a victim of something we usually associate with confined spaces and poor ventilation–Carbon Monoxide (CO). Onboard our vessels, we have a few potential sources of CO such as gasoline-powered engines and generators and propane cooking and heating appliances. Exhausts should dissipate harmful gases away from the boat, however experts in occupational health and safety, search and rescue and ambulatory care are identifying emerging issues for boaters.
December 30, 2010
There’s nothing like that picturesque lighthouse flashing a light on a high cliff with pounding surf on the rocks below it. That large bell buoy clanging away in the swell just offshore from the breakers crashing on a shoal and the groaning foghorn blaring through the heavy mist to warn of landfall somewhere in the pea soup. Those certainly are the traditional icons we may all imagine when mention of aids to navigation is made but are they accurate in today’s technical world? And not withstanding today’s technology, how did and do the traditional aids actually help a mariner navigate safely?
December 23, 2010
Many of us unwittingly know a few words of Samuel Coleridge’s epic poetic story, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The words that are often quoted, though their source is seldom acknowledged, refer to being far away on the briny ocean tossed and go like this: water, water everywhere, ne any drop to drink.
December 17, 2010
Transport Canada regulations require vessels to carry a variety of life saving equipment for use in emergencies. Make sure you know where this equipment is stored, and how to use it. For specific regulatory requirements, check the regulations that apply to your vessel. The Small Vessel Regulations set out the minimum safety equipment required on board a recreational boat according to vessel length.
November 4, 2010
They decorate cottage walls, get lacquered into table tops, may have coffee stains, probably have water stains, are definitely creased, sometimes rolled and always informative. They are usually only printed with a few colours of ink, mostly one sided, regularly cover about 12 sq. ft. and are chock-a-block full of details for navigation and often inscribed with an ‘X’ that marks the spot.
June 2, 2010
The canoe. Now that’s Canadian. They have been part of the landscape from since native North Americans plied the waterways to now being one of the most economical and accessible ways to get out on the water and explore. They seem simple enough – grab a paddle and go. Eagerly purchased, usually incompletely outfitted and almost never really understood or mastered. After a season or two, many a forgotten canoe can be found behind garage’s, under porches at cottages or at the boat ramp, gathering critter droppings and moss. But every once and a while a desire to get out on the water arises and someone remembers the Canadian icon, ignominiously hidden away. They haul it out, grab a paddle and go.
June 1, 2010
The best thing that can result from an accident: we (hopefully) learn from our mistake. Perhaps even better is when someone else has the accident and we learn from his or her mistake! I have spent many years on the water and in as many different roles – like everyone, a recreational boater, like many, a sailing instructor and, like a few, in charge of a Search and Rescue unit.
May 21, 2010
Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is reminding people that water levels on many lakes and rivers are much lower than normal for this time of year. “Most of the province had lower than normal snowfall, and April was one of the driest on record. This means that people going to their cottage or putting their boat in the water may see very low water levels,” said John Murphy, OPG’s Executive Vice President Hydro.
May 18, 2010
Most of us usually go boating on waters with which we are familiar, leaving the wharf of mooring where the boat is usually kept and heading off for the day, maybe even an overnighter. Sometimes we may plan a trip that takes us away from our home waters and venture into the unknown – the other side of the bay, up the coast or down the river to another lake. When we do, prudence means we have the right tools for navigation – at minimum: a compass and charts, perhaps a depth sounder, a GPS unit, maybe even a radar unit, probably not a sextant but hopefully a log book. It is with these tools and proper practices that prevent you from getting lost.