Cooler fall temperatures are on the way and with that, the water temperatures fall as well.

The Canadian Safe Boating Council is reminding boaters that with the change of season extra caution should be used on the water.

“A lot of people put their boats away after the Labour Day Long Weekend and that’s a shame,” says the Director of the Canadian Safe Boating Council Ian Gilson. “Once you get the colours out there in the fall it is so beautiful.

“What you have to remember is there are fewer other boaters out there this time of year.”

One of the big things to do in terms of safety is check the weather before heading out. Conditions can change rapidly and if temperatures fall quickly and you are not dressed properly exposure could become an issue.

The critical piece of safety equipment in a boat is to make sure everyone is wearing a personal flotation device. Accidental immersion can shock even a strong swimmer for the first seconds in cold water.

“It’s important to have a way back in your boat should you find yourself in the water and you are out there by yourself,” says Gilson. “What we teach is it can be as simple as a rope with a couple of loops in it that you can pull over the side from the boat.”

With the rope method, you can then use your arms and your legs to get back into the boat.

The CSBC says someone who falls in will have at least 10-15 minutes, even in very cold water, to effect self-rescue before they start to lose muscle control in their arms and legs.

“If your not in your twenties it becomes even more difficult,” Gilson adds.

The final and possibly most important piece of advice, says Gilson, is letting people know what your plans are. Having a float plan lets people know when they need to start worrying about your whereabouts.

“If we know the route somebody has taken and what their desired destination is we have a much more efficient search pattern we can lay into place to find that person in a hurry,” he says.