Essential Tips for a Safe and Enjoyable Cottage Summer

Summer has arrived, signalling the start of cottage season. The anticipation of hiking through lush trails, tubing around crystal-clear lakes, and sharing stories in front of glowing campfires brings excitement. These activities are countless ways to enjoy the outdoors during your cottage getaway. While embracing the joys of nature, it’s essential to prioritize safety to ensure preventable accidents don’t spoil your much-deserved vacation. Here are some tips to help you stay safe at the cottage throughout the season.


Keep Your First-Aid Kit Stocked

Even if you’ve spent time at your home away from home over the winter, it’s crucial to make sure your first-aid kit is ready for the new season.

People spend more time outdoors as the weather gets warmer, increasing the likelihood of minor injuries. Having a well-stocked first-aid kit is your best defence against these incidents. Essential items include bandages of various sizes, sterile gauze pads, antiseptic wipes, and tweezers. Additionally, consider adding a digital thermometer, adhesive tape, scissors, and an assortment of over-the-counter pain relievers and antihistamines. Regularly inspect the kit to replace any expired items by reviewing the expiration dates on all components, and restock supplies as necessary by including additional quantities of the items you frequently utilize.


Get to Know Your Community

Engaging with your cottage community and staying informed about local news can significantly enhance your safety. Is there a regional fire ban? Have there been recent bear sightings? Subscribing to a community newsletter and connecting with residents can keep you updated on important information. Attend community meetings or events to build relationships with neighbours who can offer invaluable insights and assistance. Familiarize yourself with local wildlife, such as bears and snakes, and learn the appropriate precautions, such as securing trash to avoid attracting bears and understanding what to do if you encounter one.


Be Prepared in Case of a Fire

Fire safety is paramount at the cottage, especially when engaging in activities like grilling or having a campfire. Ensuring that smoke alarms are installed is a critical first step, but regular maintenance is equally important. Smoke alarms should be replaced every ten years, and their monthly batteries should be tested by pressing the test button. Additionally, installing carbon monoxide detectors in recreational spaces is essential; these should be replaced every seven years. Always have a fire extinguisher on hand and know how to use it. Regarding campfires, only sleep after ensuring they are completely extinguished. Keep a bucket of water, a hose, or a shovel nearby to remove lingering embers.


Locate the Nearest Emergency Services

Knowing the nearest medical facilities can be crucial in an emergency and may save lives. Research the closest doctor’s office, hospital, and pharmacy and keep their contact numbers accessible. Familiarize yourself with the quickest routes and estimated travel times to these locations. Consider printing out maps and directions if your GPS fails or you encounter areas with poor signals. Additionally, identify nearby emergency services, such as the local fire department and police station, and keep their numbers handy. Being prepared this way will give you confidence and readiness, ensuring you can act swiftly and effectively.


Be Boat Smart

Boating can be one of the highlights of a cottage vacation, but it’s essential to approach it with safety in mind. Ensure your boat is stocked with life jackets for every passenger and that everyone wears them while on the water. Life jackets should be the appropriate size and in good condition. Avoid bringing glass containers and open alcohol onto the boat to prevent accidents and ensure a safe environment. Remember, boating under the influence of alcohol is both illegal and very dangerous. A valid boating license is mandatory in Ontario, so ensure you are authorized to operate a watercraft. Regularly check your boat for mechanical issues by inspecting the engine, steering, and electrical systems, and ensure it is well-maintained.


Additional Tips for Cottage Safety

While the primary tips cover the most crucial aspects of cottage safety, here are a few additional recommendations to enhance your safety and enjoyment:

  • Water Safety: Before swimming, select a precise location for boat traffic and dangerous obstacles. It involves scanning the water for any indications of boat movement or potential underwater hazards like rocks or logs. Additionally, ensure constant supervision of children and teach them essential water safety guidelines.

  • Sun Protection: Use sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses to shield yourself from harmful UV rays. Remember to reapply sunscreen often, particularly after swimming or sweating. Apply enough sunscreen to cover all exposed skin, including ears, nose, and the tops of your feet. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or more frequently if sweating or swimming.

  • Food Safety: Follow proper food safety procedures to prevent foodborne illnesses during food preparation and storage. Keep perishable items refrigerated and ensure that meat is cooked thoroughly, employing a food thermometer to verify the internal temperature. For example, ground meat should be heated to an internal temperature of 160°F (71 °C), whereas poultry should be cooked until it reaches 165°F (74 °C).

  • Bug Protection: Utilize insect repellent to protect against mosquito bites and ticks, which may transmit diseases. Wear long sleeves and pants during periods of peak mosquito activity. When using insect repellent, please adhere to the directions on the label and apply it to exposed skin and clothing. Refrain from applying it to cuts, wounds, or irritated skin. Upon returning indoors, cleanse the treated skin with soap and water.



As you seek an escape from the daily grind, remember that safety is paramount in cottage life. Whether you’re in the market to buy or looking to sell, it’s crucial to prioritize safety for a fulfilling summer experience. Embrace the beauty of nature, embark on exciting adventures, and forge lasting memories, all while keeping safety at the forefront of your plans. Stay informed, stay prepared, and make the most of every moment! Contact us today to explore our available cottages and embark on your journey to an unforgettable summer retreat.

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