Prince Edward Island

New rule at Summerside wharf requires everyone wear personal flotation device

'It's put there for people's safety'

Posted: August 17, 2018

Anyone on the wharf, including those fishing, are required to wear a PFD within one metre of the edge. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

There's a new rule requiring anyone on the Summerside wharf — including those fishing — to wear a personal flotation device (PFD), such as a life jacket.

David Huestis, the wharfinger and property manager with the Summerside Port Corporation, said the use of life jackets within one metre of the edge of the wharf is a requirement from Transport Canada.

Huestis says the rule is for people's safety. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

"It's put there for people's safety. Right now if we look out, the tide is down, we're looking at, at least a 10-foot drop off the side of our wharf," he said.

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"If anyone was to go in accidentally, it could cause injury but if they have their PFD on, at least we know that they're going to be floating when they hit that water."

Huestis said because the marine terminal falls under the Occupational Health and Safety Act of Transport Canada, anyone using it must comply with the safety regulations.

'This PFD has saved my life'

Huestis says because the marine terminal falls under the Occupational Health and Safety Act of Transport Canada, anyone using it must comply with the safety regulations. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

The change is something that many lifelong fishers will have to get used to.  

Gabriel Stewart has been fishing off the wharf since 1958, and said he's a big fan of PFDs.

"I was up at Mill River and I started the motor and it threw me out of the boat. And this PFD has saved my life … so pretty valuable piece of equipment."

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Sign of the times

Stewart says he's a big fan of PFDs. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Huestis said compliance has been pretty good.

"I wouldn't say it's 100 per cent, but we're definitely over 90. For the most part, when people that don't have a PFD on, if I approach them, they are more than willing to get a PFD and have it on the next time they come for a visit."

He said it's a sign of the times. 

"There's change, and this is one of the changes that is happening on our wharf."

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With files from Brian Higgins