VICTORIA – August 3, 2017 – The August long weekend is one of the busiest boating weekends of the year, and Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) crews are encouraging boaters to check their vessels, their safety gear, and the weather forecast to stay safe on the water. RCMSAR volunteers operate 35 rescue stations in British Columbia and respond to an average of 800 marine emergencies each year. The also provide free vessel safety checks for recreational boaters, and free loaner lifejackets for children through the Kids Don’t Float program at many docks and marinas.
RCMSAR crews remind B.C. boaters about the risks of impaired boating. About 40 per cent of boating deaths in Canada are related to alcohol. Combined with the sun, wind, and waves the effects of alcohol can be greatly increased on the water. Too often marine rescuers see the tragic results of drinking and boating, something that is both unsafe and illegal.
RCMSAR supports the Canadian Safe Boating Council in “Operation Dry Water”, a national public information campaign about the risks of impaired boating. The campaign encourages safe boating practices and reminds boat operators that they can be charged under the Criminal Code if their blood alcohol level exceeds the legal limit. Open alcohol containers are only allowed on boats that are designed with sleeping facilities, toilet and cooking facilities. Drinking is only allowed when that boat is at anchor, docked, or beached – never while underway. Learn more about Operation Drywater at www.csbc.ca.
As well as avoiding alcohol, RCMSAR crews remind you to wear a lifejacket, do a thorough vessel safety check, have an emergency signalling device, be weather aware, and know the risks of BC’s dangerously cold water. You can get more tips and tools on RCMSAR’s Safe Boating App through www.rcmsar.com