You may not feel it yet, but soon enough the weather will be cooling down – and that’s okay. For now, there’s plenty of boating left to do in the month of September. In fact, autumn is a great time to explore areas that are usually too busy in the summer.

Just as fall colours driving tours are popular, viewing the changing leaves by boat can be even more satisfying.

The Canadian Safe Boating Council wants to make sure you are staying safe while stretching the boating season. Because there are fewer hours of daylight and fewer boaters on the water, you need to take more precautions when boating in the fall.

Here are a few tips from CSBC:

  1. Dressing for the water temperature will help slow the onset of hypothermia should the unexpected happen and you find yourself in the water. Accidental cold water immersion can be shocking, but don’t panic. It may take a minute or so to get your breathing under control after the initial shock but you will have at least 10-15 minutes, even in very cold water, to affect self-rescue before you will start to lose muscle control in your arms and leg. This is where an approved lifejacket, either inflatable or inherently buoyant, is an essential part of your wardrobe to keep you afloat.
  2. Be sure to leave a float plan with a responsible person on shore who will know what to do if you’re overdue.
  3. A marine radio or cell phone will allow you to call for assistance should the need arise.
  4. Having a few tools and spare parts aboard will also allow you to fix minor problems that might otherwise cause you to be stranded out on the water.
  5. Ensure that your boat and engine are in good shape and mechanically sound.  Ethanol-based fuel can allow water contamination in the tank. Use a fuel additive to prevent water in the fuel line from freezing that could cause your engine to chug to a halt. If using portable fuel tanks, it’s a good idea to have a spare on board as a reserve.
  6. Be wary of reduced water levels that can result after a long, hot and dry summer season. Some of your favourite shallow water fishing holes may be inaccessible at this time of year. Also, while underway, keep a sharp lookout for debris that could penetrate your boat’s hull at speed.

For more tips on boating safely both early and late in the season, visit www.CSBC.ca.

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