The Canadian Safe Boating Council is issuing reminders in advance of the May holiday weekend and Northern American Safe Boating Awareness Week for safe and responsible boating practices.
With the May 24 holiday just days away and Boating awareness week running from May 22 to 28, the number of vessels launching from the Prince Rupert region and along the Northcoast will increase.
From the Northwest coast to the east coast 16 million people enjoy recreational boating. Covid -19 is driving the increasing number by 20 to 40 per cent the boating council said, in a press release on May 20.
“From powerboats to sailboats, to paddle craft, we know Canada’s waterways will be 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 equipment aboard in case something should happen,” Stephanie Rankine of the Canadian Safe Boating Council, said.
“Marine dealers across North America have reported empty shelves of boating safety 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,” the boating authority stated. This is because social distancing and travel restrictions are keeping people closer to home.
“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 of MADD Canada, said.
Although this ‘new’ to boating group has made boating safety information more critical than ever before, prior to COVID boating safety was still an important communication. Boating safety educators and advocates are determined to make boaters more aware of their roles and responsibilities to themselves, their passengers, other boaters, and those on shore, the council said.
Five basic boating safety messages being promoted to decrease the most common boating accidents are: Wear a lifejacket, boat sober, be prepared — both you and your boat, take a boating course, and be aware of cold water risks.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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