RCMP gives boating safety pointers

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Baie Verte RCMP Cpl. Jason Derry says there are some common violations of the Canadian Shipping Act, a set of laws seeing increased enforcement recently by the RCMP on the Baie Verte Peninsula, onboard both pleasure craft and commercial vessels, that can easily be fixed by knowing and clarifying a few simple rules."Different lengths of vessels need different safety equipment," said Cpl. Derry.The RCMP officer said one of the most frequent violations is improper lifejackets."Lifejackets must be approved by Transport Canada," he said. "They must be the appropriate size and in a reasonable state."

Cpl. Derry said many boaters buy lifejackets in the United States because they are generally less expensive than in Canada, but explained that most lifejackets for sale south of the border are not approved by Transport Canada, and can still be in violation of the rules for boaters in Canadian waters.

Mr. Derry says another common violation is when boaters don't have a 15-meter long, buoyant heaving line with a floating object at the end for emergencies.

"If someone goes overboard, you need something to throw (to them)," he said.

An operational flashlight, a horn or whistle and a valid pleasure craft boating licence are also absolute musts on board any boat.

The rules can vary for inboard and outboard engine boats.

"Any vessel with an inboard motor must have a fire extinguisher onboard, including sea-doos," said Cpl Derry.

Another often-misunderstood rule, involves the consumption of alcohol on board different sized vessels.

"A boat is like an RV," said Cpl. Derry. "When in motion, there is no drinking allowed."

Cpl. Derry explained that a vessel must have a washroom, cooking facilities and be anchored for those on board to drink, since at this time, it becomes the owner's temporary residence.

The RCMP officer added that acceptable cooking facilities can be even just a camp stove, as long as an officer can reasonably see that those on board could prepare a substantial meal, and not just be limited to snacking or not eating while consuming alcohol.

"Every circumstance is different and is left up to the officer's discretion," he said. "Most boaters usually have all the necessary equipment, but it is often not in one place."

Cpl. Derry said RCMP often hear from boaters that some that their necessary equipment is onboard a friend's vessel or it was left at home.

"Most people have all the equipment, but it's not together," he said.

The RCMP in Baie Verte found 10 vessels in violation of the Canadian Shipping Act in a recent bolstering of patrols along the Baie Verte Peninsula.

In addition to these violations, alcohol was seized from one boater and another was found to be operating a vessel while prohibited in the waters surrounding the peninsula.

The RCMP marine patrols will continue on in the area for the remainder of the summer.

Organizations: RCMP, Transport Canada

Geographic location: United States, Canada, Baie Verte

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