Before setting out, it is important to verify certain elements to ensure the safety of all aboard:
- Be aware of the weather forecast and of all local hazards;
- Always inform a responsible person of your destination, the time of your expected return and a description of your craft;
- Check your fuel supply;
Did You Know?
A good rule of thumb regarding fuel is to ration one-third for the trip out, one-third for the return and one-third as reserve.
- Whether you own or plan to rent or borrow a watercraft, always ensure that it is in good working order and well equipped;
- Have on board all required safety gear, ensuring that it is in good working order;
- Make sure that the load is well distributed in the craft;
- Bring along a communication device to call for help should you need it; and
- Always ensure that the drain plug is properly secured before launching your boat.
In case of emergency, it is important to know how to send distress signals and ask for help; it could mean the difference between life and death:
- On waters serviced by the Coast Guard, the VHF marine radio is generally the most effective way to broadcast your distress. Use channel 16 and repeat “Mayday” three times;
- A cellular phone is also a means of asking for help. Turn to page 27 of this guide for a list of Marine and Air Search and Rescue Emergency Telephone Numbers. Some cellular providers also offer the *16 service to reach the Coast Guard. Should you find yourself in need of assistance on waters not serviced by the Coast Guard, call the police by dialling 911;
- If you are planning a longer excursion of several days, you may wish to consider obtaining a satellite phone or an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), which transmits a coded signal used only in times of distress. On activation of the EPIRB signal, Canadian search and rescue resources are deployed to your rescue.
Did You Know?
To function properly, the Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon must be registered with the Canadian Beacon Registry by calling 1-800-727-9414.