If you're new to boating, know the game before you go out and play on the lake or ocean. Take a course, read up on it, or even lessons. Educate yourself before the fun to avoid any troubles. If you're an experienced skipper and had past experience, remember that second nature isn't forever. Go slowly and impress with your mature approach to boating, give your sea legs and nautical confidence a chance to seep back slowly.

Your boat may have all of the latest gear and equipment, but be forewarned. Even the latest nav gear and failsafe gizmos can fail and leave you stranded. Engine failure or electrical shorts do occur, even on the latest, newest and most modern well maintained boats. So have a back-up system that's ready to get you out of a jam, just in case. Anticipate all possibilities and plan what you'll do when everything that can go wrong does.

Flotation Devices would be the personal kind. Got enough onboard for all members? Do they make better anchors than cushions? Life jackets are like a regular jackets, you can't keep them around forever. Make sure they're up to date, not soaking in battery acid, and you have the right size for all members onboard. Because if you don't, the water police will.

Make sure you got all your emergency gear onboard that local laws say you must have. If not get it. If you're an ocean boater, have your emergency duffle bag packed and stashed in a grabbable place. Pack it with non perishable food, drinking water, first aid, fishing gear, and whatever else you can think of.

Check Transport Canada's Safe Boating Guide for details, page 16-18.

Ever head out on the lake only to have something embarrassingly simple go wrong on you. Broken fuel line, fouled spark plug, or shortage of engine oil, don't let maintenance stop you dead in your wake. One should keep the boat up to snuff to enjoy trouble free boating. If you don't have the know how or the time to do it yourself, hire a qualified mechanic to do it for you. Remember that maintenance also prevents major repairs, and that maintenance is also a lot cheaper than a major repair.