Lifejackets can help prevent drowning accidents

NANAIMO - The Canadian Safe Boating Council and Lifesaving Society join forces this summer to promote wearing lifejackets.

You’ve got your license, your reel is strung with fresh line, the hooks on your favourite lures have been sharpened and you’re up on catch limits and slot sizes in your area.

You are ready to hit the lakes and catch a few trout … or are you?

What about your lifejacket?  The Lifesaving Society reports that, in Canada, between 2006 and 2010 an average of 134 people drowned per year while fishing.

According to the Canadian Safe Boating Council and the Lifesaving Society, 80 percent 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 while operating small, open power boats, accounting for 60 percent of these preventable deaths. A majority of these victims were males between the ages of 19 and 35, out for a day of fishing.

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.

It’s in the boat.  Why not make the decision to wear yours whenever you go fishing this year?  If you fall in, your chances of survival will be greatly increased, especially in cold water.

These aren’t the same old bulky lifejackets that your dad made you wear whenever he took you fishing.  They’re lighter and cooler with models designed specifically for anglers.

Inflatables are also a great option for those 16 years of age and older in that they’re lightweight and adjustable.They come in manual and auto-inflate models and are available in vest and pouch styles.  Inflatables must, however, be worn while on deck to be legal.

Wearing your lifejacket while in the boat makes you immediately prepared should something suddenly go wrong and you’re tossed into the water.  It also provides a great example to your kids who look up to you for information and guidance.

During National Fishing Week in Canada the Canadian Safe Boating Council and the B.C. Wildlife Federation have partnered on an initiative, Get Hooked on Lifejackets, to help remind people about safety this summer.

For more information please go to www.csbc.ca.

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