John Craig prepares the Kluane for an autumn outing at the Ladysmith marina. Whether you’re travelling more locally or planning a longer trip

Boating tips offered for fall weather

Ensure your water excursions around Greater Victoria are safe this time of year

When not being pelted by rain and wind, West Shore residents may have noticed how calm and enticing the ocean has looked of late.

But with autumn weather drifting in more each day, boaters need to take extra precautions at this time of the year.

The Canadian Safe Boating Council and the B.C. Wildlife Federation have floated out to do list for people to ensure their fall excursions on the water are safe and enjoyable.

Checking the weather forecast before you head out is key because the mix of warm and cold air – more prevalent in the fall – can spawn high winds and waves that make it treacherous for small boats.

If you find yourself in a fog bank that makes visibility challenging, proceed slowly and sound the horn at regular intervals to alert other boaters of your presence.

Daytime temperatures can change quickly from occasionally balmy to much colder, so dress accordingly to slow the onset of hypothermia in the unfortunate event you wind up in the water.

Accidental immersion can be shocking, but it takes 10 to 15 minutes before you lose muscle control, even in very cold water. That’s why an inflatable lifejacket is something you should never be without.

Remember as well that in the fall there are fewer boats on the water to lend assistance, so ensure someone responsible on shore is familiar with your plans so they can call with a marine radio or cell phone if you’re overdue.

Make sure your engine is mechanically sound, and it’s a good idea to have a few tools and spare parts on hand to handle minor repairs.

Be mindful that reduced water levels at this time of year may mean that favourite fishing spot is no longer accessible, or could be made more menacing by debris.

For more information on seasonal water safety, sail over to csbc.ca.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com