North American Safe Boating Awareness Week will take place across Canada from May 19-25.
The purpose of this initiative, managed by the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) and its partners, is to promote safe and responsible boating practices to the estimated 15 million recreational boaters in Canada.
Although boating-related fatalities have trended downwards in past years, there continues to be an average of more than 100 such deaths annually in Canadian waters.
With people gearing up to launch their boats after a long winter slumber, the goal of the week is to continue to bring those numbers down by ensuring that Canadians who head out in any type of boat have the appropriate knowledge to help them have a safe day on the water.
The timing of the week, starting on the May long weekend, is aligned perfectly with the unofficial start of summer and a time when many boating fatalities occur.
There are five key boating safety behaviours to be delivered, all directed towards the most common boating-related accidents.
•wear a lifejacket;
•take a boating course;
•be prepared (both you and your vessel); and
•be aware of the risks of cold water immersion.
To help media in communicating safe boating messages, short stories to be used as discrete articles and 30-second audio and video PSAs are available.
They are easy to download and free of charge on the www.csbc.ca website (beta quality also is available upon request).
The impending legalization of cannabis, along with the rise in prescription narcotic use, is causing significant additional concern for boating safety advocate groups, enforcement agencies, and first responders alike.
Alcohol alone long has been proven to be a contributing factor in 40 percent of boating fatalities across Canada, but the legalization of recreational cannabis has the potential to significantly increase this statistic.
The Safe Boating Awareness Week initiative is promoted by the CSBC, a registered charity, with support from its members, partners, and Transport Canada Office of Boating.
For additional information on both the event and boating safety information, visit www.csbc.ca