Summer is just around the corner, and for many that means it’s time to put their boat back in the open water. But as of April 2011, B.C. now has stricter regulations for pleasure craft operators. Safety enforcement officers can now issue tickets on the spot to violators, without going through the courts.
A recent article in the Vancouver Sun reported that over 80% of drownings in 2011 could have been prevented by the use of a personal floatation device (PFD), or life jacket, and nearly 50% of those accidents involved drugs or alcohol.
Did you know that it’s a criminal offence to drink alcohol while boating? Drinking while operating a boat means that you can be charged as if you were an impaired driver.
The most common violation for boaters is not having enough PFDs on board. There must be one per person onboard. These also have to be of the appropriate size for those travelling with you. There is a $200 fine for the first missing PFD and $100 for each additional missing one.
It’s important to have your operator’s license. If you don’t, you could be facing a $250 fine. It’s simple and easy to get online through BOATsmart Canada. And the license will only cost you $49.95. If you want training and certification to on the open water, consider using a Vancouver-based boating educational company like ISPA.
Transport Canada has great resources and checklists to ensure safe boating. These include:
- Safety equipment
- Navigation lights and equipment
- Distress signals
- Extra fuel
Summer is a fun time of year, and relaxing on a boat in the sun is a great way to spend time with friends and family. But remember to follow all safety regulations while enjoying the time on the water or you could end up paying a steep price.