Make it a safe summer on the water
With the current warm weather, this is the perfect opportunity to ensure you are prepared for taking to the water.
According to the BC Coroners Service, between 2008- 2012:
- 58.7 per cent of drowning deaths occur between May and August
- 81.1 per cent of drowning victims were male
- Alcohol and/or drugs were contributing factors in 40.2 per cent of drowning deaths
- People between the ages of 20-29 were most likely to be victims of drowning
Of the 397 deaths just over 50 per cent (200) were involved in recreational activities such as swimming and boating, 44.1 per cent (175) involved falls into water, motor vehicle incidents where vehicles landed in water or deaths in bathtubs; and 5.5 per cent (220 were occupational.)
Here are a few simple safety tips to remember:
- If you cannot swim, stay out of the water and seek the shade instead.
- Wear a personal flotation device. Tragedy can strike in an instant. Don’t assume that you will have time to put on a lifejacket.
- Watch your speed. Don’t race to the lake and don’t race on the lake. Speed is a major contributor to incidents on the roadways and on the water.
- Do not put your feet in fast moving water that is deeper than the length of your arm. If a foot becomes entrapped by rocky bottom in deep water, the current will eventually push the swimmer over face first into the water.
- If you are going to a less-traveled area, let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
- Always remember that alcohol and water don’t mix. Impaired driving laws are the same for operating a boat as they are for a vehicle.
Safety Equipment Rules
There are safety equipment rules for all types of watercrafts, from canoes to yachts. In addition, anyone who operates a power-driven craft must have proof of competency. For more information, visit Transport Canada’s safe boating website.
Proof of competency can be any of the following:
- A Pleasure Craft Operator Card
- Proof of having passed a boating safety course in Canada before April 1, 1999
- A specified marine certificate from the List of Certificates of Competency, Training Certificates and other Equivalencies
- A completed rental-boat safety checklist – good only for the rental period
The RCMP West Coast Marine Services and marine units of detachments with lakes and waterways within their boundaries are doing patrols to ensure boaters meet all safety regulations and people are boating in a safe manner.
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