Summer is upon us and we are all anxious to get outdoors and enjoy the many adventures that Vancouver Island has to offer. The challenge during the current pandemic is how to maintain proper social distancing while taking in the great outdoors. Boating is the perfect solution as it presents us with the beauty and relaxation that the waters which surround us provide while getting together within our safe circle of family and friends.
While the opportunity of spending time out on the open water enjoying nature is exciting, we must always remember to follow safe boating practices. Doing so will go a long way in alleviating the current travel restrictions we all face and allow us to maintain physical distancing while enjoying the best of nature. One of the many benefits of boating in any type of watercraft around Vancouver Island is that it is a year-round activity.
Although we face a number of restrictions due to Covid-19, boating can be a safe reprieve from the stresses during these challenging times. We can protect ourselves and our loved ones by simply following some safe-practice guidelines such as:
- Allow only those from your immediate household on board. Now is not the time to invite guests outside of your ‘bubble’.
- Always maintain a distance of two metres from others when docking at a marina or otherwise coming into contact with those you may encounter
- Make sure to wash your hands and wear a mask if necessary when approaching common areas such as gates and boat ramps
- Stay close to home. Now is not the time to explore new community boating facilities
- When going back and forth from your home to your boat, do not make any unnecessary stops.
- Always have everything you will need for your trip before heading out, so you do not need to stop and shop for supplies
Transport Canada has put together a boater’s safety guide outlining the rules and regulations that all boaters must follow. They also include many helpful tips to keep everyone safe while enjoying the beauty of our waterways. Some of the topics covered include:
- Boating Safety Knowledge and Requirements – this section outlines basic boating safety and the ‘Rules of the Road’ on Canadian waterways
- Safety Equipment – this section gives a list of the requirements and specifications for the various types of boats and watercraft
- Emergencies – this section contains a lot of useful tips and suggestions that all boaters should take time to read as it provides helpful information on what to do in case of an emergency
- For more detailed information on boating safety, visit Transport Canada’s Safe Boating Guide
Everyone deserves to enjoy their time out on the waters of Vancouver Island especially during the challenges we have all experienced these last few months. It is therefore our responsibility to ensure we follow all safe boating practices regardless of the type of watercraft we are using. Remember that we are not the only ones out there trying to have some much-deserved fun and relaxation. We must always be aware of those we share our waterways with such as swimmers, wildlife, canoes, kayaks, etc.
Another important aspect of practicing boating safety is avoiding alcohol and drugs while operating any type of watercraft. Our fine motor skills and judgment can be drastically impaired when using drugs or alcohol. Just as on the road, impaired driving on the water can result in devasting results and harsh consequences.
So, go ahead and take in the beauty and nature that is abundant around Vancouver Island. It’s easy to both stay safe and experience the exhilaration of being out on the open waters as long as we remember to follow all safe-boating practices and the guidelines set out by B.C.’s health authorities.
Get started on your next adventure by filling out the Sport Boat/Yacht Application.