Preparing Your Trip

4.9 Water-Related Activities

Operators of Personal Watercraft, PWC's, should know their machine and its handling characteristics. Make sure you read the operator's manual.

Your PWC is classed as a boat and is subject to the same regulations as other boats on the water. Ensure you know them.

It's unsafe and illegal to operate your PWC carelessly. Some of the worst accidents occur as a result of such operation.

Never operate at high speed close to other vessels, swimmers or in an anchorage. It is difficult to see swimmers from a speeding PWC.

Do not jump wash from other boats or pass too close in front of, or behind them.

Remember that PWCs are subject to the same speed regulations as other vessels.

Before setting out, attach the engine stop line securely to your wrist or PFD.

The noise from PWC's can be bothersome if the machines are operated continuously in one place. Try to change your operating location throughout the day.

An ideal sound signalling device for use with a PWC is a pea-less whistle attached to your PFD or lifejacket. If you end up in the water and can not reach your vessel, you can attract attention with the whistle.

PWC's are not equipped with running lights and can not be operated in the dark or periods of reduced visibility. Manufacturers and the Canadian Coast Guard recommend that you not operate PWC at night.

Theft is a major concern. It is your responsibility to immobilize your trailer and vehicle and lock up your PWC.

A large number of the fatal accidents that happen to boaters occur to people who are hunting and fishing in small open boats.

Make sure you do not stand up during the activities. You do not have the same balance as you do on shore.

The effort and reflexes involved in shooting and angling can cause you to lose your balance quickly on the unstable platform of a small, open boat.

Wear a comfortable PFD while engaged in these sports. New inflatables are ideal as they are comfortable to wear. If you use inflatables, remember that in order to be legal for use in open boats, they must be worn at all times.

If you are on the water early or late in the season, be prepared to keep warm to prevent hypothermia both out of and in, the water.

Alcohol is not legal in small, open boats and it is illegal to operate a vessel while your abilities are impaired by alcohol.

Water Skiing / Towing

There must be at least two people in, or on, any pleasure craft used for waterskiing or towing a person; one to steer and one to watch the skier.

If a PWC is used for waterskiing or towing it must be one that seats three people. The towing vessel can not be operated by remote control.

Lifejackets must be worn by water skiers, not life-belts, and all water skiers should be competent swimmers.

Learn the proper hand signals to communicate.

It is an offense to water ski from one hour after sunset to sunrise. An operator can not tow a person after dark as described in the Criminal Code of Canada.

Next Chapter: 5.1 Safe Boating