As summer is in full swing, many are heading outdoors and onto the water to enjoy B.C.’s lakes, rivers and beaches.
As boating continues to be one of B.C.’s most popular activities — particularly in the Okanagan — education around safe-boating operation, water safety and water rescue skills are vital, said the WaterWise Team of the Lifesaving Society.
The Society said the influx of boaters and paddlers partaking in the Okanagan summer lifestyle results in a high number of unsafe situations around the water and that 85 per cent of boat-related drowning victims are not wearing a PFD or lifejacket; a third of which did not even have one on their vessel.
“It can happen so quickly,” said Brock Sampson, WaterWise Team member for the Lifesaving Society. “One minute you’re having the time of your life, the next you’re struggling for your life.”
The Team’s four key messages — Prepare it! Wear it! Know it! and ‘Share it! — are relevant to power boat operators and non-power vessels operators. The Lifesaving Society’s WaterWise Team will be visiting the Okanagan from July 11-14 delivering their knowledge on water safety through school presentations.
All operators, recreational paddlers and boaters are encouraged to visit Team’s website at www.waterwiseteam.ca for more information.