Ahead of National Life-jacket Day, the Shuswap Watershed Council has some harsh facts to share about the dangers of boating without a flotation device.
According to the council, 101 Canadians die each year in boating-related accidents; improper life-jacket use is a factor in 87 per cent of these fatalities.
The educational campaign around life-jacket use hits its peak on National Life-jacket Day on May 14, which coincides with when many boaters are getting out on the water for the first time of the year.
Life-jackets aren’t the only important piece of boating-related safety to keep in mind; the statement from the watershed council states that alcohol was a factor in 41 per cent of boating-related fatalities, expressing the importance of having a sober captain.
“We sometimes think we’re immune to accidents, but we’re not,” said Erin Vieira, program manager for the Shuswap Watershed Council.
“When an accident happens, your life-jacket buys you time to be rescued.”
There are 14 stations at public parks, beaches and boat launches around the Shuswap that are equipped with child-sized life-jackets which can be borrowed for free. The life-jackets are provided by the Royal Canadian Marine Search & Rescue Station #106 Shuswap and other community sponsors.
“Start the boating season with a commitment to wear your life-jacket or PFD every time you go on the water. And, if you’re the captain, it’s your responsibility to make sure everyone on board has a properly fitted flotation device,” a statement from the watershed council reads.