June 30th- July 8th marks National Fishing Week in Canada. The Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) and the BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) 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 per cent 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 per cent 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,” said 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 look after it and wear it.
“If you happen to fall overboard, it will give you the time you need to calm down, catch your breath, assess your situation and effect, or help effect, a rescue.
“In two out of three drownings related to boating, the victims were less than 15 meters from some form of safety.”
Many of today’s anglers are delighted with the lifejacket 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.
“BCWF encourages everyone to keep safety in mind this summer and wear a lifejacket when you are out enjoying the limitless fishing opportunities that our beautiful province provides. There are many comfortable and functional options available, including models designed especially for anglers,” said BCWF President Harvey Andrusak.
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 BCWF are asking those who fish to ‘Get Hooked on Lifejackets’ too.
The BCWF is British Columbia’s largest and oldest conservation organization with over 40,000 members passionately committed to protecting, enhancing and promoting the wise use of the environment for the benefit of present and future generations.
Visit www.bcwf.bc.ca for more information.