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Safe Boating Awareness Week : May 18 – 24, 2024

Safe Boating Awareness Week - Canada

Since its inception in 1995, the annual National Safe Boating Awareness Week has promoted safe boating practices among Canada’s 16 million recreational boaters.

From May 18th to 24th 2024, the Safe Boating Awareness Week emphasizes the importance of wearing life jackets, boating sober, obtaining proper training, ensuring boat readiness, and being aware of the risks of Cold Water Immersion. The initiative aims to reduce boating accidents and fatalities across Canadian waters.

At®, Canada’s leading provider of the Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC), we are committed to promoting a culture of safety and responsibility on the waters.

This week, we join forces with the Canadian Safe Boating Council to raise awareness and ensure every boating experience is a safe one.

SAFETY STAT :   Over 80% of Canadians who drown while boating were not wearing their life jackets or not wearing them properly. Always wear a properly fitted life jacket or PFD.

Why Safe Boating Awareness Week Matters

Safe Boating Awareness Week is a critical initiative that saves lives. Each year, hundreds of boating-related accidents in Canada could be prevented with better safety practices and awareness.

Safe Boating Awareness Week aims to significantly reduce boating deaths and accidents by educating boaters on the best safety practices.

Safe Boating Week Key Messages

  1. Wear Your Lifejacket
  2. Don’t Drink and Boat
  3. Take the Boating Course
  4. Be Prepared
  5. Beware of Cold Water Risks

The 5 Key Tips For Safe Boating

1. Wear a Lifejacket: Over 80% of Canadians who drown while boating were not wearing their lifejacket or not wearing it properly. It’s not just about having a lifejacket onboard; it’s about wearing it.

2. Don’t Drink and Boat: Boating under the influence is not only unlawful, it’s extremely dangerous. Alcohol and drugs impairs your judgment, balance, and reaction times. Stay sober when you’re at the helm.

3. Take the Boating Course: Anybody operating a powered vessel in Canada is legally required to have a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) or other proof of competency. As Canada’s leading PCOC provider,® stresses the importance of taking a boating safety course. It’s not just about meeting legal requirements; it’s about understanding how to navigate and handle each boating situation safely.

4. Be Prepared, Both You and Your Vessel: Planning is crucial for safe boating. Before leaving the dock, ensure your boat has all the required safety equipment and that everything is in good working order. Also ensure the weather is suitable for the voyage, you have sufficient fuel and you have filed a trip plan. Its always a great idea to complete a pre-departure checklist. Additionally, everyone onboard should understand the basic safety practices and emergency procedures.

5. Cold Water Awareness: Cold water can severely impact your ability to swim and even just stay afloat. Even the best swimmers will feel the effects of a sudden cold-water immersion. No matter your swimming ability, the best chance of surviving an accidental cold-water immersion is to wear your life jacket!

Transport Canada : Safe Boating Awareness Week Video

Legal Requirements for Boaters in Canada

Fine Boating License Canada - RCMP

In Canada, all operators of recreational powered watercraft must carry a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC), or other proof of competency on board at all times, as set out in Section 4 of the Competency of Operators of Pleasure Craft Regulation (COPCRs).

The Pleasure Craft Operator Card demonstrates that they understand the basics of boat operation and navigational safety. This certification is mandatory and can be obtained by completing the® Transport Canada accredited boating safety course and test.

This requirement does not apply to operators in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

NOTE: If you have a Pleasure Craft Operator Card as proof of your competency, you must have the original card on board the vessel. Copies (other than a copy of your temporary PCOC) or electronic versions of the card will not be accepted as valid proof of competency.

Plan Your Boating Activities

Planning is crucial for safe boating. Always check the weather before heading out and have a trip plan. A trip plan includes details about your trip, the route, and expected return time, which should be shared with someone onshore.

Engage with the Boating Community

Participation in the Safe Boating Awareness Week activities can involve attending workshops, seminars, and safety demonstrations. Engage with local boating clubs and online communities to share experiences and learn from others.

A Commitment to Safety

Participating in Safe Boating Awareness Week is a commitment to safer boating practices. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced boater, there’s always something new to learn about staying safe on the water.

Visit the® blog for resources and advice to ensure your boating adventures are both fun and safe. Join us in making safety a priority not just for this week, but throughout the entire boating season.


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ACCREDITED.® is accredited by Transport Canada to deliver boating safety courses and administer tests for the issuance of Pleasure Craft Operator Cards, including replacement cards, under the Competency of Operators of Pleasure Craft Regulations.


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