National Lifejacket Day: Canadian Red Cross urges Canadians to wear their lifejackets this summer

Topics: National, Water Safety
May 17, 2012

 

(Ottawa) – As we mark National Lifejacket Day on May 17, the Canadian Red Cross is urging Canadians to wear their lifejackets. Each year, more than 160 Canadians drown while boating. Nearly 90 per cent are not properly wearing lifejackets.

“Almost 40 per cent of boating fatalities occur when a lifejacket is present but not worn,” says Rick Caissie, national director of Injury Prevention programming with the Canadian Red Cross. “A lifejacket cannot protect you unless you are wearing it correctly.”

Since 1991, the percentage of drowning incidents involving lifejackets on board a boat but not worn has doubled. Recent polling shows that despite significant water safety education and awareness programming, there is still a gap in the behaviour of Canadians when it comes to lifejackets. Fewer than half of Canadians who use boats say they and other adult passengers always wear lifejackets while boating.

“It is troubling that although 82 per cent of Canadians think there is a legal requirement to wear a lifejacket when boating, fewer than half of those who own a boat wear them,” adds Caissie.

Yesterday on Parliament Hill, Members of Parliament donned lifejackets in support of water safety awareness.

“We are extremely grateful to the Members of Parliament who came out in support of yesterday’s event,” said Caissie. “On National Lifejacket Day and throughout the season, the Red Cross encourages all boaters, of all skill levels, to wear their lifejacket when in a boat and to ensure it is properly secured.”

The Canadian Red Cross has been helping to keep Canadians safe in, on and around water since 1946. For more information about Red Cross swimming and water safety programs, or for safety tips, visit www.redcross.ca/swim.