With warmer weather and melting snow, boating is an increasingly popular activity among Canadians and tourists alike. Imagine the peaceful scene at Bras d’Or Lake, the 450-square mile “inland sea,” with deep water, no fog, and plenty of secluded anchorages. There are few vacations that equal floating around the lake and enjoying some good snacks and a refreshing beverage. However, with the rising popularity of boating in Nova Scotia, there is always a risk of inexperienced boaters operating a craft. This leads to the potential for accidents on the lake, and at its worst, fatality. It is important to be educated in the laws of boating in Nova Scotia before operating a boat or other motorized water vehicle, so you can help keep yourself, friends, family, and community safe this summer.

What You Need

You will first need to obtain your Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC), which is good for all provinces in Canada. To begin this process, you can study free online course materials provided for your assistance. Then, you will write the timed Transport Canada Boating Safety Test, which you can take again 24 hours after your first attempt if you do not pass. After passing the test and paying a small fee, you will be able to print your Temporary Pleasure Craft Operator Card. Your PCOC will come in the mail within 2-3 weeks of your completing the previous steps. Your PCOC will not expire or need to be renewed. If your pleasure craft has a motor, you will need to obtain qualifications by passing a Transport Canada-approved boating course. Your PCOC can function as this proof of competency for motor-operated crafts. Carry your proof of competency with you on board at all times. Additionally, all boats are required to carry safety equipment, which should be checked regularly and well-maintained. There must be a Canadian approved life jacket or flotation device for every person on board. Once you check all of these boxes, you will be ready to boat.

Why is Boating Education Important?

The more you know about operating your boat, or whatever pleasure craft you may own, the safer your boating experience will be. You will be equipped to handle an emergency situation, and to take care of your boat and passengers should an accident occur. If you think you can get away with not taking a boating course, think again. In 2017, 278 marine accidents were reported to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. Forty-five of these accidents occurred on board the ship, 46 people were seriously injured, and, for 11 people, these accidents were fatal. While the numbers in total are less than those of 2016, you probably don’t want to risk becoming a statistic simply because you did not have the proper credentials to operate a boat. No one wants their vacation to end abruptly with an accident, so get smart and operate wisely.

When to Hire a Lawyer

If an accident should occur, don’t panic. You have a personal injury Lawyer Halifax at your disposal. This type of lawyer is well-versed in the rules and regulations of boating and boating accidents, as well as your rights when it comes to compensation for the accident. So, if an accident happens involving your boat, first seek medical attention for any injuries that may have occurred. Then, be sure to document any damage that is physical or to your property so your lawyer can provide this proof to support your case. Once you have recorded details about the scene, taken down information from any witnesses, and noted the cause of the accident, you can phone a lawyer immediately to help you organize your claim.

In 2016, 43% of Canadians went boating, and altogether Canadians owned 8.6 million boats. This recreational activity is not going to dissipate any time soon. You might as well join the fun, and prepare yourself properly, to enjoy a wonderful summer on the lake this year.

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