Tips for staying safe in and on the water this summer
Kid in life jacket on a lake

It’s that time of year when the temperature’s rising and weekends become dedicated to being outside in the backyard, at the beach or at the cottage. It’s also a good time to brush up on your water safety so that you can enjoy summer to the fullest! We’ve outlined some tips to help keep you safe in and on the water.

Boating tips:

  • 1. Keep an eye on the conditions. Before you head out, check on the weather to make sure you’re not headed into a storm.
  • 2. Know the water. It’s also important to familiarize yourself with the lake before going out on the water. Bring a map, and know where there are shallow areas or rocky areas that you need to avoid.
  • 3. Bring your PCO (Pleasure Craft Operator) card with you. It’s required to have (you have to show it if you’re stopped) so always make sure this is on board with you!
  • 4. Fill up on gas! We couldn’t stress this enough – always make sure you have a full tank of gas. The last thing you need is for all the waterskiing/wakeboarding/tubing fun to be interrupted by an empty tank.
  • 5. Lifejackets, lifejackets, and more lifejackets! It’s also required that there be a lifejacket for every passenger on board. Although they’re not required to be worn by everyone while in the boat, we highly recommend this. Just in case!
  • 6. Have an extra pair of eyes. While you’re focused on what’s ahead, it’s important to have a spotter for any waterskiers or tubers that are behind the boat.

Here’s what you’re legally required to have:

  • Lifejacket or floatation device
  • Buoyant heaving line at least 15m in length (this is used to throw out to someone overboard)
  • Watertight flashlights (meaning it’s waterproof and it floats) OR Canadian-approved flares
  • A sound-signaling device (for example, a whistle would work)
  • A paddle OR an anchor of at least 15m
  • A bailer OR manual water pump (in case of any unwanted water getting in the boat)
  • A Class 5 BC fire extinguisher (these can be purchased at a hardware store)

And some extra stuff that might be helpful:

  • First aid kit
  • Map
  • Sunscreen
  • Water and of course, snacks

Pool Safety

  • 1. Watch out for the little ones. Generally, it’s best to keep within arm’s reach when swimming with young kids and always make sure someone’s watching them in or around the pool.
  • 2. Make sure everyone is prepared. In the pool or not, everyone in the household should know how to swim and some should have proper CPR training, just in case.
  • 3. Establish rules. Create rules like “no running around the pool” or “no swimming by yourself”, so that everyone is on the same page with pool safety. Although, the family might see right through the old “no swimming after eating” rule.
  • 4. Store chemical and cleaning supplies properly. Make sure any pool/hot tub chemicals are stored out of reach and in a cool, dry place with good air circulation.
  • 5. Build a lockable fence around your pool. In some neighbourhoods, this is required by law – and even if it’s not, it’s always a good idea to have a fence on all sides of your pool that self-locks for safety reasons.

Lastly, we have some insurance tips to keep in mind:

    • Your boat can be covered under your home policy (but you should double check with your insurance company as there are certain limitations).

Insured with Sonnet? Check out how your watercraft is covered.

    • If you decided to schedule your boat on your home policy (let’s say it exceeds the limits of your policy), you might benefit from additional coverages like the cost to repair or replace a lost or damaged boat.
    • You should note that your boat isn’t covered if it’s used for business or racing purposes.
    • You can purchase boat insurance from certain companies that includes coverages for damage to the boat and its equipment; liability coverage so you’re protected against property damage and personal injury; and medical expenses.

Note: If your boat is covered under your home policy, liability is not included unless it is specifically added to your policy or if it meets a certain criteria. Double check your policy or contact your insurance company to get the specifics!

  • Make sure your pool and backyard area is safe and well-maintained if you plan on hosting people, you could be held liable for anything that happens on your property.
  • Your homeowner’s policy should cover you for any accidents that may happen around the pool.

Now get out there and enjoy the summer!

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