Monday, May 4, 2009

We supply required on-boat safety equipment

Kim Gross with life vest
Bow Narrows Camp fishing packages include a boat and motor for each two fishermen and also the safety equipment required by law for each boat.

This includes a life vest for each person, bailing device, two paddles, emergency flashlight, a sound-signalling device and a 15-metre buoyant heaving line.

By far the most important of these items is the life vest. If you are wearing your life vest you will be safe in almost every boating situation. However the world's best life vest is useless if you aren't wearing it.

I always wear a life vest, so does our family and so does our staff. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources conservation officers and all other Ministry of Natural Resources personnel wear them. So do all police officers. So do most of our experienced guests including long-time angler Kim Gross, above.

Even though we provide comfortable life vests for each person we still recommend that you bring your own for the reason that you can find one that fits your physique the best and is the most comfortable for you. There are many varieties to choose from including ones that have mesh backs and shoulders for ventilation, models with handy pockets and C02-operated ones that self-inflate if you end up in the water.

The next two critical pieces of boating equipment are the bailing device and the paddles.

We place a bailing scoop made from a bleach jug in each boat. This allows you to bail a lot of water in a hurry if you need to and also to empty the boat each time it rains.

The paddles let you manoeuvre your boat even if something happens to the outboard engine.

The flashlight in your boat kit is meant for emergencies, not ordinary use. You should never be on the water after dark but if it does happen you can use the emergency flashlight to signal help and warn other boaters of your presence.

This year our boats will have new wind-up flashlights that do not need batteries.

The sound signal device in the kit is a pealess whistle. A whistle carries farther than the human voice.

The final piece of equipment, the 15-metre buoyant heaving line is the kind of thing our friend Bob Moninger who owns a cabin near camp would call "mouse milk." This is meant to be a line that you could throw to someone who was in the water. Why you wouldn't just motor over to the person or paddle to him is a mystery. And if you wanted to actually throw a rope to someone, I would think you could untie the 3/8-inch floating rope from the anchor and use that quicker than you could open the safety kit and get out this useless wad of 1/4-inch spring-like heaving line. But it's required by law so there it is.

Anyway, the person in the water should be bobbing safely around in his life vest that he wisely always wears. He could then just swim back over to the boat.

New this year is all of our boating safety equipment will be contained in a waterproof Sealine dry bag clipped to one of the boat braces. In the past this stuff was in an orange jar that would frequently open and let water into the contents.

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