As the boating season nears its end, the Quebec Boating Council (QBC) is taking stock of its 25th boating safety awareness campaign. In total, eight drownings occurred during recreational boating activities on Quebec’s lakes and rivers this summer. This is the lowest number in the past 10 years.
“We’re pleased to see a sharp drop in the number of fatal accidents this year, although some safety rules, such as the wearing of personal flotation devices (PFD) or lifejackets, are still too often being ignored,” said Yves Paquette, president of the Quebec Boating Council. “In 75% of the fatalities this past summer, the victim was either not wearing a PFD or was wearing it incorrectly. Too many people still underestimate the need to wear a lifejacket at all times when doing aquatic activities.”
While it is not mandatory to wear a PFD, the QBC reminds the public that it is a key element that, when worn properly, regardless of a boater’s level of experience, increases the chances of survival and can lessen the impact of cold water immersion, one of the main causes of death in boating accidents. With regard to regulation, it is interesting to note that a Léger survey found that 68% of Quebeckers favour a federal law requiring the wearing of PFDs by all passengers on pleasure craft.
In addition, safety rules are often taken lightly by recreational boaters. Nearly one in two Quebeckers say they did not take a course or learn the safety rules when they first started boating. And yet it is everyone’s responsibility to be informed of general safety measures, as well as those specific to the type of pleasure craft
they are operating. This basic action can often help avoid the worst. Last summer, nearly 40% of those responsible for the boat at the time of the accident were novices. Lack of experience is a factor that can clearly disadvantage boaters when an accident happens. If panic sets in and safety rules and emergency measures have not been mastered, it can be more difficult to react properly.
The QBC’s 25th awareness campaign, launched last May, focused on the importance of boating safety, in particular, always wearing a personal flotation device, avoiding alcohol while boating, taking special care in cold water and practicing courtesy on the water while respecting navigation rules.
A few interesting statistics from 2014
Of the eight victims:
– six were male
– 80% were over the age of 40
– 50% of the drownings occurred in the Laurentians administrative region
– six died as a result of cold water immersion
– 63% of the incidents occurred during recreational boating activities, including water sports.
About the survey
The web survey, which was conducted by Léger for the Quebec Boating Council from September 1 to 4, 2014, polled a representative sample of 1,000 Quebeckers, aged 18 or older, in French and English.
Source:Quebec Boating Council (QBC)