With the weather getting nicer and nicer every day, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry want to make sure that when you drop your boat into the water for the first time this summer, you’re being safe.

With many people taking their boats out of storage for the first time in months, Joe McCambridge with the MNRF says it’s a good idea to go around your boat and make sure everything is in order. “Things can happen while boats are in storage,” he says.

“Water temperatures can be deceiving,” he says. At this time of year – especially this year – water levels are high. “When people get submerged in the water, the cold water can very quickly limit their ability to respond to things,” he says. McCambridge adds that high water levels also have a big impact on your boat. “People may not be aware of how (high water levels) really impacts the ability for them to operate their boat,” he says.

McCambridge notes that a boat is the same as a vehicle in that you cannot operate one while impaired. He adds that open alcohol isn’t allowed on boats, even if it’s in the hands of the passengers. In Ontario, no alcohol can be consumed on a boat unless it has permanent sleeping, cooking and washroom facilities on board. Even if your boat has that, you have to be docked or at anchor.

McCambridge adds that boating safety requirements may be different depending on the size of your boat. You can find all the information you need on Transport Canada’s website.

Written by Mathew Reisler