Today marks the beginning of National Summer Safety Week and water safety is the focus.
Lewis Smith with the Canada Safety Council says water-related fatalities are at their highest from May to September.
He can’t stress enough the use of personal flotation devices and the right size.
“They’re categorized based on certain weight categories and of course in the event of a child needing a personal flotation device you want to make sure you’re purchasing a vest specifically suited for children”
Smith recommends that any pfd be one approved by Transport Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard or Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
We’re already seeing boaters out on the lakes as the weather gets better.
Smith says after last year, when boating in the Okanagan was reduced because of high water on the lakes, it’s important not to be lazy in your thinking.
“yeah and you know it’s that combination of rust I suppose from lack of being able to go boating last year and also just bad habits creeping in as people get more and more comfortable going out on the water.”
He also reminds people that alcohol and boating don’t go hand in hand, and is just as illegal as alcohol in a vehicle.
Another big concern is advertising that shows people boating without a pfd.
“Our hope is that by reinforcing this message and by continuing to push on and emphasize the importance of wearing personal flotation devices, not only do we reach the public but we also reach the advertisers who realize, hey, maybe this is a bigger issue than we seem to think it is.”
The most recent figures available from 2014 show 428 people drowned in Canada that year.
In 2016, 47 people in BC died in water-related incidents, just under half them in boating, rafting or tubing and swimming accidents.