Kelowna Yacht Club is urging boaters to wear their life jackets as they set out of the water this long weekend – and throughout the boating season.
National Safe Boating Awareness Week takes place across Canada from May 16 to 22 reminding boaters to practice safe and responsible boating, always wear life jackets, and be alert while on the water.
In Kelowna, the public is invited to join the Kelowna Yacht Club and the Canadian Power Squadron on the docks on Thursday, May 21, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Everyone is encouraged to wear a life jacket, show your support for safe boating and enjoy a hot dog.
The timing of the week, starting on the May long weekend, is perfectly aligned with the unofficial start of summer and a time when many boating fatalities occur.
Although boating related fatalities have trended downwards in past years, there continues to be an average of over 100 boating related deaths annually in Canadian waters. In BC, the Coroners Service reported 385 accidental drowning deaths in the five-year span from 2009-2013, the majority of those in the Interior region.
The best defence against drowning is to wear a properly fitted personal floatation device while boating or taking part in activities on and around the water. A demonstration of the proper fit for your life jacket will take place at noon.
The five key boating safety messages of Safe Boating Awareness Week are all directed towards the most common boating related accidents:
• the importance of wearing a life jacket;
• the dangers associated with drinking and boating;
• the importance of taking a safe boating course;
• ensuring that you and your vessel are prepared before casting off; and
• the risks associated with a fall into cold water.
For additional information boating safety information, please visit www.smartboater.ca.
Links to videos and audio files to share from your media outlet can be found here http://www.smartboater.ca/media/media_tools/.