Boating and Lifejackets

With so many lakes and rivers, Canadians are avid boaters. Canoes, kayaks, motorboats, houseboats – there are so many ways to enjoy the water. But when approximately 26% of drownings each year occur during boating activities, it’s important to know the key things that keep you safe. Make sure you check out our Boating Safety Tips.

Boating safety facts:

• All powercraft boaters are required by law to carry a Personal Craft Operator Card (PCO).
• In 80% of boating deaths, boaters are not wearing lifejackets.
• Alcohol consumption is a factor in most boating deaths and accidents.
• Drinking and driving your boat can result in losing your driver’s licence.

Key boating safety tips:

• Wear a lifejacket! Most boating fatalities occur when not wearing lifejacket.
• Lifejackets aren’t one size fits all – check for proper fit.
• Most drownings occur within 15 metres of shore – wearing a lifejacket alone can save your life.
• Don’t drink and drive your boat – it impairs judgment and you could lose your licence.
• Carry a safety kit, including a cell phone, and check the weather.

Boating Safety Equipment Requirements:

Along with your Pleasure Craft Operator Card, you are required by law to carry marine safety equipment. At a bare minimum, you should always have with you:

• Canadian-approved flotation device or lifejacket of appropriate size for each  passenger on board
• Buoyant heaving line at least 15 metres in length
• Watertight flashlight OR Canadian approved flares – Type A,B or C
• Sound-signalling device
• Manual propelling device (i.e. paddle) OR an anchor with at least 15 metres of rope, chain or cable
• Bailer OR manual water pump
• Class 5 BC fire extinguisher

In addition to the safety equipment listed above, it is highly recommend that you carry the following items – enough for everyone on board:

• Marine First Aid Kit
• Drinking water
• Sun-screen
• Hat
• Sunglasses
• Dry clothing (i.e. long-sleeved shirt)
• Snacks
• Waterproof matches
• Knife