July 4 – 12 marks National Fishing Week in Canada. The Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) and the Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) want to remind anglers that wearing your lifejacket is even more important than wearing your ‘lucky fishing hat’. But they do share one trait. They 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 and every year in Canada were not wearing a lifejacket or Personal Floatation Device (PFD). Most of these drownings occur in small, open power boats, accounting for 60 percent of these preventable deaths. A majority of these victims were males between the ages of 19 and 35, out for a day of fishing.
Many of those who don’t wear their lifejackets or PFDs believe that, 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 clearly show that 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 the models that are designed especially to suit their needs. They’re rugged, allow for full freedom of movement to cast and are constructed with lots of pockets for gear. Some even come equipped with an attachment from which to hang a landing net. 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.
“The Ontario Conservation Officers Association is excited about partnering with the CSBC to promote the Hooked on Lifejackets program,” said Tim Rochette, President of the OCOA. “Our organization is dedicated to the sustainable use of all of our beautiful natural resources in Ontario, which includes ensuring that all boaters stay safe and wear a lifejacket while enjoying our waterways.”
Fishing is a part of our Canadian fabric and an activity that’s easy to get hooked on. At this important time of year, the CSBC and OCOA are asking those who fish to ‘Get Hooked on Lifejackets’ too.