Editor's Note: In honour of National Safe Boating week, we asked safety expert Lindsey Jeremiah of BOATsmart! to address the most crucial concerns for the Ontario boater. It turns out being safe on the water isn't any more difficult to pull off than having a good time. And around here we know how easy that is!
Life Jackets 101
May 21-27 is National Safe Boating Week, and the timing for this important awareness campaign couldn't be more perfect. Boaters are opening up cottages, sweeping out cobwebs from the boathouse, backing boat trailers down launch ramps and hitting the lakes for the first cruise of summer! The Safe Boating Week message for boaters is simple and important: play it safe and always follow these rules...
- Always wear a life jacket
- Don't drink and boat
- Get your boat license—visit BOATsmart to get yours today!
- Be prepared—do you have all of your required safety equipment?
- Be aware of the effects of cold water immersion.
Among the activity buzz of opening season, boaters should be pulling life jackets out of storage, testing them for buoyancy, fitting them on kids who have grown a few inches over the winter, and replacing them if they are ripped or badly faded. Are you giving you life jackets some love?
We've heard every excuse from our friends and family members about why they don't want to wear a life jacket. So, we've addressed the most common ones out there and as you may have predicted, the excuses for not wanting to buckle up are laughably weak.
Common Excuses For Not Wearing A Life Jacket
- It's scratchy. (Not anymore—many modern life jackets are made of neoprene fabric, which is softer than most people's skin.)
- It looks bad. (Lies. The life jacket renaissance has arrived and if you haven't heard—safety is sexy.)
- It gives me tan lines. (Maybe the classic orange foamies from 20 years ago did. But modern life jackets are barely there when worn, plus the sun causes cancer so the "tan lines" excuse went stale around the same time as tan accelerators.)
- It gets in the way when I'm wakeboarding. (No way—even the pros wear lifejackets! Check out Canadian pro boarder Chad Sharpe's video about his recent drowning accident: http://vimeo.com/50166259
- It's wet from the last rider. (So what? If you're getting towed, you'll be wet too!)
- It doesn't fit. (So buy on that does?! Duh. Check out this year's good-looking line-up from Mustang Survival.)
- It's hot. (Feeling a bit warm, are we? Well you're at the lake—go for a swim.)
Why You Should Always Wear a Life Jacket
If you're an excuse-maker, or you know someone who is, just remember these reasons why *all* of us should *always* wear our life jackets:
- It will save your life.
- It will save your friend's life.
- It will save your sister's life.
- It will save your brothers's life.
- It will save your mom's life.
- It will save your dad's life.
- It will save your daughter's life.
- It will save your son's life.
- It will save your grandma's life.
- It will save your grandpa's life.
- It will save your dog's life.
So play it safe and wear it, Ontario! Be an active participant in National Safe Boating Week by wearing your life jacket and taking a BOATsmart! Safe Boating Course!