National Fishing Week in Canada June 30 – July 8. The Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) wants to remind anglers that wearing your lifejacket is even more important than wearing your ‘lucky fishing hat’. But they do share one trait. They both have to be worn to be effective.
According to the Canadian Safe Boating Council and the Lifesaving Society, 80 percent of recreational boaters who drown each and every year in Canada were not wearing a lifejacket or Personal Floatation Device (PFD). Most of these drownings occur in small, open power boats, accounting for 60 percent of these preventable deaths. A majority of these victims were males between the ages of 19 and 35, out for a day of fishing.
“Even during shoreline fishing you should wear a lifejacket if you are not a confident swimmer,” says Kevin Tordiffe, Lifesaving Society – MB Branch Acting CEO. “Falling into the water while fishing from shore is another common cause of drowning.”
Many who don’t wear their lifejackets or PFDs believe that, since they are good swimmers, having them onboard and within easy reach is good enough. But a lifejacket stored under a seat or up in the bow will be of no help when the unexpected happens, like falling overboard while trying to net the catch.
“National surveys clearly show that more than half the recreational boats sold in Canada are used for fishing on a regular basis,” says John Gullick, Chair of the Canadian Safe Boating Council. “During National Fishing Week, the Canadian Safe Boating Council would like to remind all anglers not only to have their lifejacket onboard their boat but to wear it as if their life depended on it – because it just might!”
Many of today’s anglers are delighted with the models that are designed especially to suit their needs. They’re rugged, allow for full freedom of movement to cast and are constructed with lots of pockets for gear. Some even come equipped with an attachment from which to hang a landing net. When choosing their lifejacket, anglers should also check the label to make sure it is Transport Canada approved, is the correct size and fits snugly.
Today, many anglers choose to wear an inflatable lifejacket because they are cool, fully adjustable and provide for full arm motion. These are available in both manual and auto-inflate models which make them extremely versatile. The law states that these must be worn to be legal, rather than just be kept in the boat. Also, they are only legal where the wearer is 16 years of age or older.
This initiative is made possible through the support of Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety.