The Canadian Safe Boating Council wants to remind residents, visitors and anglers that wearing your lifejacket may save your life. This comes following three drowning deaths in the past 5 days in local waters.

According to the CSBC and the Lifesaving Society, 80 per cent of recreational boaters who drown each and every year in Canada were not wearing a lifejacket or Personal Floatation Device. Most of these drownings occur in small, open power boats, accounting for 60 per cent of these preventable deaths. A majority of these victims were males between the ages of 19 and 35, out for a day of fishing.

“Even during shoreline fishing you should wear a lifejacket if you are not a confident swimmer,” says Kevin Tordiffe, Acting CEO of the Lifesaving Society. “Falling into the water while fishing from shore is another common cause of drowning.”

Over the Canada Day long weekend, the OPP reported three drownings and two fatal marine incidents across Ontario.

Many who don’t wear their lifejackets or PFDs believe that, since they are good swimmers, having them on-board and within easy reach is good enough. However, the CSBC says that a lifejacket stored under a seat or up in the bow will be of no help when the unexpected happens, like falling overboard while trying to net the catch.

“National surveys clearly show that more than half the recreational boats sold in Canada are used for fishing on a regular basis,” says John Gullick, Chair of the Canadian Safe Boating Council. “The Canadian Safe Boating Council would like to remind all anglers not only to have their lifejacket on-board their boat, but to wear it as if their life depended on it - because it just might!”

When choosing their lifejacket, anglers should also check the label to make sure it is Transport Canada approved, is the correct size and fits snugly.

Many anglers choose to wear an inflatable lifejacket. These are available in both manual and auto-inflate models which make them extremely versatile. The law states that these must be worn to be legal, rather than just be kept in the boat. Also, they are only legal where the wearer is 16 years of age or older.

For more information:
Sudden death in Whitedog
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