May 26, 2022
The Annual, Safe Boating Awareness Week kicked off across Canada last Saturday and continues to May 27. The purpose of this initiative, managed by the CSBC (Canadian Safe Boating Council) and its partners, is to promote safe and responsible boating practices.
Boating is HUGE in Canada. More than 16 million Canadians enjoy recreational boating, and that number has significantly increased, some say by large double-digit percentages …20, 30 even 40 %… driven by COVID-19 over the past two years. Because of COVID-19, marine dealers have reported empty shelves of boating gear and exhausted inventories of new and used boats as many people, new to boating, have made purchases and are taking to the water for the first time. And the effect on the number of boating incidents is quite telling. The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centres across the country are reporting a significant increase in marine SAR incidents. Notably, recreational boating experienced an increase of 32.7 % in marine incidents in 2021 compared to pre-covid times in 2019.
Although most travel restrictions are now lifted, many Canadians that have discovered boating are still staying closer to home, enjoying their time on the water. These new boaters. along with existing boaters, make this year’s Safe Boating Awareness Week especially critical as Canadians embark on a new boating season.
To help boaters focus on what is important, the CSBC and its partners are promoting five key boating safety messages directed towards the most common boating related incidents. They include:
1. Wear Your lifejacket
2. Boat Sober
3. Be prepared, You and Your Vessel
4. Take a Boating Course
5. Be Cold Water Safe
To help deliver these messages, the CSBC works with a variety of boating and water safety groups and agencies and also depends on the participation of Canadian media like CYOB to help get the boating safety messages out.
“From powerboats, to sailboats, to paddle craft, we know Canada’s waterways will be very busy. It’s important for Canadian boaters to know the rules of the road, who has the right of way, and how to be self-sufficient with the right safety equipment aboard in case something should happen.” – Stephanie Rankine, Canadian Safe Boating Council.
“When people think about driving impaired, they think about a car on the road. But operating a boat while impaired is just as dangerous and illegal.” – Jaymie-Lyne Hancock, President – MADD Canada
“We know time spent outside is good for us. With a variety of shutdowns in place due to Covid, there’s a surge in outdoor activities, paddling included.” – Michelle McShane, Executive Director – Paddle Canada
Go to www.sbaw.ca to access videos from CSBC partners that can be downloaded by media or shared on social media.
Safe Boating Awareness Week is promoted by the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC), a registered charity, with support from its members, partners and Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety.