Have you ever searched the web for a simple answer to how many visual distress signals you need to meet the minimum safety requirements for your boat? Or perhaps you already know the number of flares you need, but really would like to know how to dispose of them after they expire. It could be as simple as equipping your kayak with the proper required safety equipment, but instead of settling on one, easy to navigate site through a simple search, you find yourself in a mess of web pages with answers to thousands of boating safety questions except the one you are looking for? Well you aren’t alone. As you may or may not know, half of Canadians go boating at least once a year, many more often. And, during annual surveys conducted by the Canadian Safe Boating Council, it was discovered that less than half of these boaters have any real awareness of the basic safety precautions required to have a safe experience on the water.
So now we ask ourselves, ‘Why is this?’ In part, this is the result of difficulty for boaters to obtain information themselves and the realization that many don’t even think that they need the information until it is too late. The fact is, the information is out there, but the ease of obtaining it is hard to come by. It is important to provide a platform for relevant boating safety information and expose the public to its availability.
SmartBoater.ca has been created to provide for all of the above. SmartBoater.ca is an initiative to develop a communication strategy designed to help change recreation boating behaviours on Canada’s waterways, using a comprehensive website to house and distribute boating safety materials and information through a proactive outreach that builds on existing resources and communication channels. However, SmartBoater.ca is more than just another ‘boating safety website’ dictating the importance of boating safety to the general public. Although we provide a great deal of information on how to be safe when you go out on your boat, whether it be a kayak, fishing boat, sail boat, power boat, PWC or any other type of pleasure craft, we also make sure that we stream our information so that individuals who come to the site find answers to their boating safety questions efficiently and are able to navigate the site with ease. Partnerships are already forged, with Canadian Power & Sail Squadrons and the Lifesaving Society for example, to ensure the messaging is properly crafted and targeted. By categorizing boating safety information, users are able to locate information that pertains only to their on the water activity, as well as find suggestions and useful tips on the best type of safety equipment for them.
SmartBoater.ca has been created to increase the boaters’ knowledge of key safe practices so they will understand the inherent risks, use safe boating procedures routinely and participate in making every boating experience safe and enjoyable, particularly as they relate to specific on water activities. For the general public, the information available is easy to find and enticing to watch and learn from. The website is the perfect place to go to determine what is important to minimize risk while enjoying particular on the water activities and it can be accessed on demand.
Over time, SmartBoater.ca will become the one place boaters of all stripes will go to get interesting and entertaining boating safety information, media will use as an ongoing resource and volunteer boating safety educators will depend on to be their one-stop-shop for outreach materials. The result will be better informed boaters on Canadian waters, a safer boating environment and a reduction of boating incidents.
Unlike other boating safety websites, we don’t command boaters to boat smart. Rather, we commend boaters for being smart by staying safe each and every time they are on the water. Just take a look at our name, SmartBoater.ca. It’s all in the title. So come click with us for all your boating safety needs.