Do you have what it takes to be a safe boater? Test your safe boating IQ with our boater safety quiz! These simple true or false questions below are a handy review of some key safe boating rules.

Safety Quiz

True or False: All boats have the same basic safety equipment requirements.

Answer: False. While every boat must have sufficient lifejackets on board that properly fit every passenger, in fact, the safety equipment that is required as a minimum varies by boat type and size. Be sure to check the latest regulations from Transport Canada to ensure that your boat is properly equipped.

True or False: Your safety equipment can include a hand-made bailer.

Answer: True. Transport Canada advises that you can make a bailer out of a four-litre rigid plastic bottle (useful for small open boats) as an inexpensive way to meet the requirements to have an efficient bailer on board. A bailer must hold at least 750 ml (3 cups); have an opening of 9 cm (3.5”) diameter or more; and be made of plastic or metal.

True or False: If someone falls overboard, the first thing you should do is jump in right away to assist them.

Answer: False. Jumping overboard to rescue someone should only be used as a last resort. Safe boating requires that the first thing you do is to reach for the person, using either your arm or something nearby that they can grab onto. If you’re more than an arm’s length away, the next option is to throw them an inflatable, floatable device (such as a buoyant heaving line). If you aren’t close enough to reach or throw something, the next step is to row closer until you are. Only go in after someone as a last resort, and only if you are a strong swimmer with experience in lifesaving. Otherwise, you could end up having two people overboard instead of just one.

True or False: A dock or slip should be always approached at slow speed.

Answer: True. A safe boater always operates at a reasonable speed at all times, especially in crowded waterways or near docks and slips. Safe boating requires you to always be in control of your watercraft, taking the time to perform all manoeuvres with adequate precision.

True or False: No matter what your preferred watersports towing activity (from wakeboarding to tubing to kneeboarding and so on) there must be an empty seat on your boat for each person you are towing.

Answer: True. Always check your boat capacity to ensure that you have sufficient space on board for passengers as well as for people you are towing, in case they need to come aboard.

True or False: A Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) is required for operation of all motorized boats, no matter the size or type of engine.

Answer: True. Proof of Competency - Going out on the water requires basic boating safety knowledge and a good understanding of the “rules of the road” for Canadian waterways. That’s why everyone who operates a motorized pleasure craft must carry proof of competency on board. This includes all types of motorized boats, no matter their size or horsepower of the engine (this includes small boats with electric motors.) Proof of competency can be any of the following: • a Pleasure Craft Operator Card; • proof of having passed a boating safety course in Canada before April 1, 1999; • a specified marine certificate; or • a completed rental boat safety checklist (good only for rental period).

True or False: : If a boat is overturned or swamped, abandon the boat and use your Lifejacket for flotation.

Answer: False. If a boat is overturned or swamped, but not sinking, you can still use it to support your body and save energy. Removing as much of your body from the water as possible can also help prevent hypothermia.

True or False: I have family visiting and we will be going over recommended capacity by just one person. This shouldn’t be a problem for safe boating, right?

Answer: False. It can be a fatal mistake to overload your boat. To ensure boater safety for everyone on board, be sure to check your boat’s capacity plate to see the maximum number of people or carrying weight in kilos/pounds.

True or False: It’s okay if others drink when onboard, as long as there is one responsible safe boater onboard to safely handle the watercraft.

Answer: False. Over half of all boating-related drowning incidents involve the use of alcohol, and many times the injured person is not the skipper or designated safe boater. Practice safe boating at all times by restricting use of alcohol to everyone on board – not just a few people.

The S.A.F.E. Boating principles stand for: Sober Boating, Alertness, Fasten Lifejackets, and Education.

Answer: True. A handy safe boating guide to keep in mind at all times, the four S.A.F.E Boating principles above help to ensure boater safety on a variety of levels. Always be sober, always be alert, always use lifejackets when required, and last but not least, be sure to take the time to invest in an educational boater safety course in addition to the required Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC).