The Hawkesbury Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is reminding boaters who are getting ready to hit the waves on rivers and lakes this season that there is much to do before you head out.

To assist in that the OPP will have an information session on Boat Safety and Inspection on Saturday, May 21, from 10 a.m. to noon, in the parking lot of the Canadian Tire, located at 1525 Cameron Street, in Hawkesbury.

Here are some helpful hints:

Check your vessel and equipment

·        Inspect your pleasure craft:

·        Inspect your pleasure craft’s hull and check for cracks or other damage.

·        If you are operating a power-driven pleasure craft check its electrical, fuel, propulsion and cooling systems and make sure the throttle is operating smoothly and is not sticking or binding.

·        Make sure the steering is working properly.

·        Check the oil and fuel levels. A good rule of thumb for fuel is: one-third for the trip out, one-third for the return and one-third as reserve.

·        Check all hoses and lines for leaks or cracks and replace if necessary. Make sure all clamps and belts are secure and in good shape.

·        Inspect, clean and replace spark plugs if necessary.

·        Check and change oil and water filters if necessary.

·        Check the battery’s charge and its fluid levels.

·        Be certain the drainage plug is in place.

·        Verify the load on your boat is well distributed.

Questions to ask yourself

·        Are there enough suitable personal flotation devices of appropriate size for everyone on board?

·        Is all of the required equipment in good working order?

·        Do you have ample reserves of fuel for the trip or will you need to refuel?

·        Do you have maps and charts?

·        Is your VHF radio working properly?

·        Do you have a first aid kit, basic tools and spare parts?

Review Regulations

·        There is a full list of Marine Transportation Acts. Here’s the link: https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/acts-regulations/acts-marine.htm

·        All boats are required to carry safety equipment. What exactly must be carried depends on the type and size of boat (usually expressed in length from bow to stern.) All equipment should be checked regularly, be well maintained, and replaced if necessary. See this link for a free pre-trip checklist: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/marinesafety/tp-menu-515-4372.html

·        The most important safety practice is the wearing of a lifejacket or personal flotation device (PFD)…at all times. It’s too late once you’re in the water.

·        Did you know that operating a boat while impaired by alcohol or drugs comes with the same consequence as driving a vehicle while impaired. Although police and other groups advise boaters of the consequences of mixing alcohol with boating, many still do just that.

·        All motorized water craft of any size, requires a Pleasure Craft License to operate them and they must be carried with you.

For complete information about boating, please go to: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/marinesafety/debs-obs-menu-1362.htm .