Boaters not getting message about life jackets: OPP

Boaters are still not getting the message about life jackets says OPP Inspector Mark Andrews.

Personal injury lawyer says wearing a life jacket should be mandatory

Boaters are still not getting the message about the importance of wearing life jackets, according to provincial police.

The law states there has to be one life jacket for each person in a boat, but OPP Inspector Mark Andrews said wearing the life jacket is the key.

OPP Inspector Mark Andrews. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

"We did have a gentleman out in a small aluminum [boat], that had life jackets, or PFDs, in the boat with him —  not on — and he flipped that boat and capsized it. [He] was hanging on as he watched his life jackets float away."

In this case, said Andrews, someone nearby rescued the man.

Andrews noted people make all kinds of excuses for not wearing life jackets, stating they are uncomfortable or unattractive.

A lawyer who represents victims of boating accidents said people today wouldn't get into a car without a seatbelt — and a life jacket shouldn't be any different.

Life jackets are of no use to people when they aren't worn, a police officer says. (CBC)

"I think the only way you are going to see any type of a change is if people are forced to do it and to suffer consequences if they don't," Erin Cullin of Wallbridge and Wallbridge said.

Cullin said it's ridiculous the province doesn't have a law forcing boaters to wear a life jacket on the water.