Column: No reason to not have life-jackets on board

The bottom line when it comes to life-jackets or PFDs is that they save lives

Every year in this province far too many people drown while taking part in activities on the water.

None of them intended to drown. Most were simply out on the water enjoying a pleasant day – until something went wrong, desperately wrong.

The worst part is that most of the people who drown, more than 87 per cent of them, either were not wearing a life-jacket or PFD, or did not have one on board. With an ever increasing number of people taking part in activities on and around the water, there is an increased need for safety and regulation.

READ MORE: Bystanders recount giving CPR to woman who drowned in Matheson Lake

READ MORE: B.C. paramedics urge caution as summer drowning incidents on the rise in 2020

Under the federal government’s regulations, a person operating a boat or pleasure craft is responsible for equipping the boat with the proper mandatory safety equipment to ensure the safety of those on board. Operators and/or owners of boats and pleasure craft that do not comply with these regulations can be subject to penalties and fines of up to $200 for each person not wearing an approved life-jacket.

The bottom line when it comes to life-jackets or PFDs is that they save lives.

There are a number of things to consider when choosing a flotation device. First, consider the type of water activities t you enjoy.

Today there are life-jackets and PFDs specially designed for virtually every water activity including pleasure boating, fishing, water skiing, tubing, kayaking, canoeing and rafting.

Today’s life-jackets and PFDs are available in a variety of bright colours.

When determining what size of life-jacket or PFD to wear, remember that sizing is based on chest measurements for adults and weight for children. Read the label for details. And, most important, try the life-jacket or PFD on before buying. It should fit snugly, with all the buckles, zippers and snaps done up, but still allow room to breathe and move around freely.

Whether boating, kayaking, angling or floating down river on a float tube, it is important to remember that different people have differing levels of skill and physical strength, not to mention swimming ability.

Wearing a life-jacket or PFD can make all the difference in a life-threatening situation. Stay safe.

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