As an avid boater on Georgian Bay, there is nothing more satisfying than having the sun on your face, the cool mist of water spraying up over the bow, and an endless horizon of deep blue sparkling water ahead. Offering a customary wave to other boaters, you may see something in the driver’s hand that would shock you if the same exchange took place on an Ontario highway – a can of beer.
Boating accidents in Ontario can result in personal injury
The fact is, operating a vessel with .08 per cent alcohol in your blood carries the same penalties as if you were operating a car, truck, SUV or other motor vehicle. Serious personal injury and liability can occur to other boaters as well as your passengers, making accidents on waterways just as dangerous as those that take place on roadways. Canadians who have taken a complacent attitude towards drinking and boating in the past, are being forced to take notice as more laws are implemented to prevent boating accidents.
Following guidelines similar to those created for car accidents in Ontario, marine laws also require that you carry a valid license, keep required safety equipment on board at all times, and ensure your vessel is maintained properly. Making sure your lights, radio and horn are working properly can save lives on the water in an emergency situation.
North American Boating Safety Week
To mark the beginning of North American Boating Safety Week, the Minister of Transport offered these Safety tips to Canadians:
- Always ensure that you and your guests wear a life-jacket that fits properly.
- If you are operating a motorized boat, carry proof of competency and, as applicable, a pleasure craft licence on board at all times.
- Take a boating safety course.
- Carry the required safety equipment for your boat such as paddles, a bailer, flashlight, buoyant line, anchor, etc.
- Keep clear of swimmers, divers and other boats.
- Navigate your boat on the correct side of the buoy.
- Wear proper clothing and check the weather forecast before heading out.
- Do not drink alcohol and boat.
Recreational boaters must also have a pleasure craft licence and/or registration if their vessel’s engine is of 10 horsepower or more. Canoes, kayaks, small sailing vessels and small motorboats with engines of less than 10 horsepower do not have to be licensed or registered.
Taking extra steps to make sure your friends and family are safe while you’re on the water will ensure that each time you leave the dock this summer, you make a safe return.
A list of boating safety course providers and further information about licensing/registration is available at Transport Canada.
Ontario’s Injury Lawyers offer representation to serious accident victims across Ontario. We specialize in car accidents, head injury, spinal cord injury, insurance claims and product liability cases. Contact us for a free consultation with an Ontario personal injury lawyer.