The ice has receded from the lakes, the breezes carry balmy temperatures and spring has finally taken hold across Canada. Avid boaters are attacking the job jar with fervor to get everything completed in advance of the long Victoria Day weekend when getting back out onto the water after the long winter hiatus is top of mind.
It’s this time that the Canadian Safe Boating Council and its partners feel it’s so important to remind boaters of some key behaviours to keep them safe this season.
Safe Boating Awareness Week, which runs across North America during the week of May 21-27, is intended to do just that by promoting the following messages:
1. Wear your lifejacket or PFD (Personal Floatation Device) because it can only save you if you wear it. Eighty per cent of boating-related fatalities involve persons who weren’t wearing their floatation device.
2. Don’t drink and boat. Save your favourite alcoholic beverage for when you return to shore. Impaired boating is a contributing factor in 40 per cent of boating-related fatalities.
3. Take a boating course. The more you know, the safer you’ll be and you’ll also enjoy your outings more.
4. Be prepared, both you and your vessel. Make sure that you have checked the weather, told someone where you’re going, when you’ll be back and who to call if you’re late. Make sure that your boat is mechanically sound and that you have a full tank of gas.
5. Understand the risks of cold water immersion. Dress for the water temperature rather than the air temperature and make sure you have a way to get back into your boat if you fall overboard and you’re alone.
Boating-related fatalities continue to decline year over year but statistics provided by the Lifesaving Society report that the numbers hit 102 across Canada in 2015.
Together, we can work to drastically reduce these incidents by always wearing a lifejacket or PFD, never drinking and boating, and not taking part in risky behaviours while on the water.
The Canadian Safe Boating Council is the authority on safe boating in Canada. To learn more, visit www.csbc.ca.