May 16, 2019, marks the Red Cross’ National Lifejacket Day across Canada.
Whether you’re fishing, boating, kayaking, on a SUP, waterskiing – the list goes on and on; but when you’re on the water, you should have your lifejacket on. And that goes for smaller bodies of water, such as lakes, just as much as it does for the times you’re on the ocean.
According to the Red Cross, 161 Canadians drown every year while boating. Of these 161, about 87 per cent weren’t wearing a lifejacket or they had it on, but it wasn’t done up properly. Studies show that using a lifejacket or personal floatation device would prevent many of these deaths.
Today, there is a lifejacket or PFD specially designed for almost every activity on the water, so there’s no excuse to go out without one. Inflatable PFDs cannot be used for persons less than 16 years old, or who weigh under 36.3 kilograms. In some instances, such as when you’re in a personal water craft, whitewater rafting or being towed behind the boat while waterskiing or wakeboarding, you’re required to wear a lifejacket (which contains permanent floatation) rather than an inflatable PFD.