Wearing lifejackets save lives, says Red Cross
Precious seconds are wasted fumbling for PFD's if people aren't wearing them
The Red Cross is trying to turn the tide on water safety by launching a new campaign to convince boaters to not just carry lifejackets but to wear them.
Wayne Young, director of injury prevention with the Atlantic branch of the Canadian Red Cross, says a beautiful day on the water can turn into a tragedy in the blink of an eye.
Young says personal flotation devices save lives.
"Without that PFD on, unfortunately, you may never resurface. Especially if it's in the fall or late spring," says Young, "I mean, you're talking six degrees of water, seven degrees of water. Can you imagine the shock on your body when you hit that cold water?"
Each summer an average of 200 people drown while boating, a disproportionate number of those deaths happen in Atlantic Canada.
"Of those who have drowned, 90 per cent either did not have, or were not properly wearing either a lifejacket or a personal flotation device," Wayne stated in a release.
"Really it's about education," he tells CBC News, "Really getting that message out to the public that personal flotation devices is no different than the seatbelt in your car — can make a difference in the situation if it happens."
It's a message boater Kelsey Colman Sadd is already very familiar with, out on the lake.
"Well if I tip, you never know what can happen, right? I could, you know, have a bunch of water, get stuff in my mouth and I could drown," Coleman Sadd says, "So that's why I wear 'em."
The Red Cross says that so far this year in Atlantic Canada, there have been 34 drownings or water-related deaths. In only two of those cases were people wearing life-jackets.
"If you are heading out on the water this weekend or any time, wear a lifejacket, tell someone onshore where you’re going and when you’ll be back," says Young.
"And always remember that if you're unexpectedly immersed in the water, a PFD or lifejacket can spare your family and friends the grief of losing a loved one."