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Top Tips to Prepare for a Recreational Boating Vacation

Top Tips to Prepare for a Recreational Boating Vacation

You want to have fun and relax during your B.C. boating vacation, no matter if it’s just a few days or an extended trip. The best way to prepare for a recreational boating vacation is to start with safety first.

Safety on British Columbia’s waterways reduces the chances of a mishap or accident.

Here are our top tips for a B.C. recreational boating vacation:

  1. Safety and boat operator responsibility

It doesn’t matter how long your trip will be on beautiful B.C. lakes such as Kalamalka Lake, Joffre Lakes, Cultus Lake, Okanagan Lake, or Kootenay Lake, safety on the water is your top priority.

Boating mishaps and accidents can happen at any time. Just like the driver of a car, the person operating the boat is responsible for the boat and its passengers.

  1. File a float plan

A float plan is also known as a trip plan.

A float plan has the details of your B.C. boating vacation, where you are going and when you plan to reach your destination. These kinds of details can give authorities or a search and rescue team crucial information to help find you.

A float plan document should include: Description of your vessel and the number of people onboard.

You can give your trip plan to your local B.C. marina, Canadian Coast Guard, or a trusted family member or friend.

If you don’t want to have a written trip plan, tell a family member or friend where you are going on your boating vacation and when you plan to arrive at your destination.

  1. You must have a PCOC card

As a boat operator in Canada, you must have a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC). It’s a federal competency card that’s issued after you successfully complete an accredited Transport Canada Boating Safety Test.

A PCOC allows you to legally operate a motorized recreational boat in Canada/British Columbia. Although it is commonly referred to as a license, it isn’t a license.

  1. Chart your course

Wherever you are going boating in British Columbia, it’s always a good idea to get the charts and study them. You need to check the chartered depths to avoid running aground. It’s a good idea to plot your journey on a paper chart or chart plotter.

For easier charting, you can also use navigation systems if the boat your boat has them.

Study your course and note the currents and shallow areas. Also, calculate the distance and time, and fuel needed for your boating vacation.

  1. Check the weather

You need to be weather cautious during your recreational boating trip, but it helps avoid accidents and can save lives. It may seem obvious, but do not go boating in stormy weather or when there’s lightning.

Have a radio on board to get weather updates.

  1. Check your tanks

Top off your fuel tanks before your start your boating vacation. It’s important to make sure you have enough fuel for your return to shore. Check the engine oil and coolant levels.

  1. Have enough provisions

Make sure you have enough food and water for your B.C. boating vacation. It’s always a good idea to have extra provisions for at least a day in case your trip takes longer.

For longer trips, plan the menu and determine the number of snacks and full meals to be served on board. You don’t have to stock up on everything before you leave because you can usually restock on fuel docks or marinas.

Don’t forget to bring along sunglasses, sunscreen, coverups, and hats for added protection against the sun.

Boat insurance isn’t legally required in Canada, but it protects you and your boat. Speak to a Western Financial Group boat insurance expert about your B.C. boating insurance needs.