The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are reminding boaters that after being locked up in storage over the winter, there may be unseen issues with the crafts. They advise a once-over of the boat before heading out onto the water, and a few questions to ask beforehand.
Before heading out onto the water, the OPP advise to check the hull for cracks or other damage. Make sure the steering works properly, as well as any propulsion system being used. Check the electrical, fuel, propulsion, and cooling systems if the craft is power-driven, and make sure there are no leaks or cracks in the hoses and lines. Check the oil and fuel levels, make sure all clamps and belts are secure and in good shape, and clean and replace the spark plugs and filters if necessary.
Stock the craft with enough properly sized life jackets for everyone on board, make sure the required equipment is in good working order, and especially make sure the VHF radio is working properly. Stock the boat with a first aid kit, basic tools, spare parts, and maps and charts to find your way.
Never drive a boat while impaired by alcohol or drugs, as it carries the same penalties as driving a car while impaired, and don’t forget to carry your Pleasure Craft License with you. Always wear a life jacket, and before you head out, make sure your boat has all the appropriate safety equipment for a craft of its size. A free pre-trip checklist can be found at http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/marinesafety/tp-menu-515-4372.html
The OPP is holding a free information session on boat safety and Inspection on May 21, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., in the parking lot of the Canadian Tire at 1525 Cameron Street in Hawkesbury. There is also more information at http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/marinesafety/debs-obs-menu-1362.htm