For many years, boating fatalities have been a leading cause of death in Canada. The Lifesaving Society believes that the proper education of boaters, regarding safe operation of their boats and improved government regulations, related to the wearing of lifejackets/PFDs and the age of boat operators, would make a significant impact on the number of drownings and water-related incidents recorded each year.
Lifesaving Society Position
- The Lifesaving Society advocates the relaxation of in-shore Canadian Coast Guard standards governing colour, style and buoyancy of lifejackets/personal flotation devices (PFDs).
- The Lifesaving Society advocates that it should be mandatory for both operators and passengers to wear functional lifejackets/PFDs in all types of watercraft that are less than 5.5 m and do not have a cabin.
- The Lifesaving Society advocates the position that all individuals should be required to successfully complete a boater safety education program prior to operating a powerboat.
- The Society also advocates the position that all individuals operating a personal water craft (PWC) should be required to complete a boater safety education program including a practical, on-water component.
- The Society advocates that boater safety education programs should focus on the following:
- “rules of the road”;
- performance characteristics of the watercraft.
- It is the Lifesaving Society's position that no one under the age of 12 should operate a boat powered by more than 9.9 KW (10 hp) unless he or she is accompanied, in the same boat, by a supervising adult over the age of 18.
- The Society also takes the position that a person under the age of 16 years of age should not operate a PWC unless accompanied, on the same watercraft, by a supervising adult over the age of 18.
The Lifesaving Society is, however, prepared to alter the specific ages and powers specified to ensure consistency with the Canadian Coast Guard, which is a Society partner.