Editorial: Keep the fun in boating with safety

With the early onset of summer weather, pleasure craft are expected to multiply starting this weekend.

Each year RCM-SAR Station 33 Oak Bay offers safety checks both ahead of time and on the water.

They spend 10 minutes going over the required safety items such as the obvious – a personal flotation device for each person on board. Something to bail with, navigation lights and 15 metres of heaving line are all required on small pleasure craft.

Something as simple as filing a sailing plan can cut the time and effort needed to affect a rescue.

Perhaps one of the simplest, and most missed, safety tool is simply to check the weather before you go.

What appear to be calm waters from shore can be much different further out. Less experienced boaters should ask someone with more experience about areas to avoid. At the least know your navigational aids – they mark hazards or safe transit.

At 21.8 per cent, boating is the leading cause of accidental drownings according to the 2009-2016 statistics from the BC Coroners Service.

June, July and August are, in order, the third, second and first highest month of drownings.

No call responded to by RCM-SAR volunteers – Island wide – is unimportant, but many calls can be avoided when boaters and swimmers take preventative measures.

They’re pretty simple: take a course, be prepared, don’t drink and boat and wear your lifejacket.

RCM-SAR volunteers are always on standby to respond to emergencies. They are members of your community and always willing to say hi. But they’d rather not have to bail you out.

RCM-SAR 33 Oak Bay maintains a 24/7 marine search and rescue readiness and promotes boating safety programs to the public.

To learn more about RCM-SAR Oak Bay and its programs available to the public, visit https://obsr.ca

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