Q: When and why should I check the weather conditions before I go out boating?
A thorough check of weather conditions is vital every time one goes boating. This includes having an appreciation of how the conditions may change throughout the day. A forecast change in weather for example may result in relatively calm conditions in the morning turning into potentially dangerous conditions in the afternoon.
Make sure your vessel is appropriate for the conditions and that you have the necessary experience to handle the forecast conditions. Remember if in doubt, don’t go out.
Q: I’ve been boating for years and can swim OK, do I still need to wear a life jacket?
Life jackets or PFDs are an important safety item on any boat and there should be one on board for each person. Children and poor swimmers should always wear a PFD.
Make sure that your life jacket is in good condition, accessible and ready for use because a life jacket stowed way will not do the job it was designed for.
Q: Is it OK to have a few beers when out on the water in a boat?
The combination of wind waves and weather can multiply the effects of alcohol and collectively are known as ‘boater fatigue’. Persons with ‘boater fatigue’ are at a greater risk of drowning should they fall into the water.
The blood alcohol limits are the same on the water as on our roads. A person in charge of a vessel must keep under the 0.05 blood alcohol limit. For commercial vessel operators the lower blood alcohol limit of 0.02 applies.