© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
Boat owners were at the Charlottetown Yacht Club Saturday geatting their vessels in ship shape for the coming season.
Safe Boating Awareness Week runs from May 17 to May 23
Ron White has a simple rule for anyone looking to go for a sail on his boat.
Anytime the honorary commodore of the Charlottetown Yacht Club takes someone for a sail on his 22-foot boat “Strait Shooter”, he hands them a life preserver
“When people get on my boat I hand them a vest,” said White. “And if they don’t want to wear it, then they don’t want to come on my boat.”
White was getting some boats at the club ready on Saturday for the upcoming sailing season when he spoke to The Guardian for North American Safe Boating Awareness Week.
The initiative, which runs from May 17 to May 23, is managed by the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) to promote safe and responsible practices among the estimated 16 million Canadian recreational boaters.
A former commodore for the club and member since the early 1970s, White also used to teach a boating course for the power squadron.
He also taught many of the club’s members how to sail when they first joined.
He said safety is a major factor to consider during any activity on a boat.
And the number one rule is to always wear a life jacket, he said.
“I get very frustrated when being in boats and I’m the only one with a life jacket,” said White, who even today can be amazed at the lack of concern some boaters have for their own safety. “You can’t tell some people that just don’t care. ‘Oh well, I can swim, I don’t need it’ but if you get hit in the head it’s a different story.
“You just have to keep working at it.”
White said he believes it’s a good idea to have a week promoting safe boating practices and hopes that some of his peers will take notice.
He said apart from wearing a life preserver, being on a boat also requires that individuals don’t let their guard down.
Even for a second, he said.
“Because things can go wrong, you can slip or trip, a boom can swing over and hit you in the head,” he said. “There are all kinds of things.”
The safety awareness week is timed with the May long weekend.
With many boating fatalities occurring at the start of the season, the CSBC said it hopes to spread to word of safe practices to boaters before they head onto the water.
More information can be found on the group’s website www.csbc.ca