July 1 to 9 marks National Fishing Week in Canada. The Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) and the Lifesaving Society BC &Yukon Branch want to remind anglers that wearing your lifejacket is even more important than wearing your ‘lucky fishing hat.’But 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 year in Canada were not wearing a lifejacket or Personal Flotation Device (PFD).
“Our 2017 drowning report shows that only 13 per cent were wearing a lifejacket or PFD at the time they were unexpectedly thrown into the water,” says Dale Miller, executive director of the Lifesaving Society. “And over one-third of boating incidents were caused by falling or being thrown overboard with another one-third from a boat capsizing.”
Many boaters who don’t wear lifejackets or PFDs believe 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 show 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 lifejackets designed especially to suit their needs. They’re rugged, allow for freedom of movement to cast and are constructed with lots of pockets for gear. 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.
“Fishing is a part of our Canadian fabric and an activity that’s easy to get hooked on,” says Gullick. “The CSBC is asking those who fish to ‘Get Hooked on Lifejackets’ too.”