Boaters bound for Shuswap Lake are being encouraged to put on a life-jacket or other personal flotation device (PFD) before heading out on the water.
With May 20th being National Lifejacket Day, the Shuswap Watershed Council (SWC) and Sicamous-based Royal Canadian Marine Search & Rescue, Station 106, are reminding boaters that accidents can happen.
“When an accident happens, your life-jacket buys you time to be rescued,” said SWC program manager Erin Vieira, who offered statistics to enforce this message. Among them, that improper use of life-jackets is a factor in 87 per cent of boating fatalities.
“The data also indicate that alcohol was a factor in 41 per cent of boating-related fatalities. These statistics offer compelling evidence for the effectiveness of life-jackets, and the importance of having a sober captain.”
For families without PFDs and planning to head out on Shuswap lakes, there are 15 PFD Kid’s Don’t Float loaner stations located throughout the region, each equipped with a range of child-sized life-jackets that can be borrowed for free on a first-come, first-served honour system.
Three more Kids Don’t Float stations are scheduled to be built this year, including two in Enderby along the river and one at Shannon Beach near Eagle Bay. Vieira said RCM-SAR will have all the stations stocked and ready for use in time for the May long weekend.
“Start the boating season with a commitment to wear your life-jacket or PFD every time you go out on the water,” said Vieira. “If you’re the captain, it’s your responsibility to make sure everyone on board has a properly fitted flotation device.”
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