New boaters should always take a boating safety course. Mariners can never know enough about boating and the sea. The Blue Heron Squadron offers various boating courses each winter, and hosts occasional seminars on boating safety. Home study courses are also available from the Canadian Power & Sail Squadrons national office at http://www.cps-ecp.ca/.
Are you carrying the right safety gear for your vessel?
Friendly Canadian Coast Guard staff will be pleased to inspect your vessel for you to ensure that it complies with current safety regulations (http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/obs-bsn/main.htm). This useful service reassures boaters that they've equipped themselves properly for a safe boating season. The sticker issued at the end of a successful inspection signals compliance should your vessel be boarded later in the season.
To obtain an inspection, ask inspectors to visit you when you see them around the marina in their inflatable boat, phone the nearest Coast Guard office, or contact Charlottetown or Summerside Coast Guard Inshore Rescue on channel 16.
Sea surface temperatures are about 15-18oC in July-September, but only 10oC in mid-June, and 13oC in mid-October. Survival time treading water without a flotation device at 10oC is 2 hrs, but with flotation and doing the HELP maneuvers survival time rises to 4 hrs. With a flotation jacket survival time rises to 7.0 hrs. At 15oC people can survive 3-4 hrs with simple immersion. Swimming decreases survival time.
Remove a casualty from cold water to a dry sheltered area. Remove wet clothing and wrap in dry blankets or clothing. Cover the head and neck. Do not rub a cold person and do not give them alcohol. Warm liquids are fine if they are alert enough to drink. Actively re-warm deeply chilled persons with your own body heat and apply hot towels and water bottles to the groin, head, neck and sides of chest.
Consider contacting "Sydney Coast Guard Radio" by telephone or on channel 16 to file a float plan before you depart on a trip. The radio operator will ask you a number of details about your departure time, vessel, equipment, crew, intended port of arrival and estimated time of arrival. They will activate a search process if you do not check in by the expected arrival time. Should you encounter an emergency en route, the float plan will make it easier for rescuers to locate you. Remember to call to close the float plan when you arrive at your destination.