After a long, hot, dry summer, water levels can drop leaving hazards, like rocks and tree stumps once covered by water, exposed. It’s important to understand local conditions, know the waters you are boating in and keep a sharp lookout for debris that could penetrate your boat’s hull at speed. Know where you are at all times and be aware of local hazards and current water levels. The Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) produces all official Canadian charts and publications. They also offer digital charts that have all the detail found on paper charts. Charts and publications can be purchased from authorized dealers. For a complete list, go to www.charts.gc.ca.
Keep up to date charts onboard. Know how to read them, use your compass and plot an appropriate course for your outing. Understand tide tables, aids to navigation, lights and signals and notices to mariners. Avoid local hazards and know where bridges, overhead obstacles, underwater cables are located. Stay away from swimming areas and keep clear of paddle craft and all other vessels that cannot manoeuvre as well as you, large or small. Be aware of local water levels, the direction of water flow and the times of low, slack or high tides.