Boating Safety

"Fire alarm" poster targets women

Men are four times more likely to drown than women. And while boating-related fatalities have trended downward over the past 10 years, still 80% of victims in boating deaths are not wearing lifejackets. These facts led the Lifesaving Society in partnership with the Canadian Safe Boating Council to research if talking to women would effectively influence their husbands to wear their lifejackets.

The research identified the high potential to reach women and ultimately their husbands and partners by linking the wearing of inflatable lifejackets as a way to save on the water. The result is the "fire alarm" poster shown here.

The research showed that the poster had strong communication ability, a strong emotional resonance, capturing and holding the attention of the study participants, and revealed high potential to get women to talk to their husbands and partners about the importance of wearing a lifejacket.

Since May 2012, the poster has been displayed at malls in Barrie, Kitchener, London, Niagara area, Ottawa, St. Catharines, Sarnia, Toronto and Windsor. The mall poster is also up in Alberta, Manitoba, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Smaller posters have been distributed to marinas and community centres. The poster was a centerfold feature of the Society's summer 2012 Lifeliner distributed to all instructors and lifeguards in Ontario.

Contact us if you'd like additional copies

The campaign is supported by the Lifesaving Society and Pattison Advertising. The site now includes a "Smart Boater Women" section in which boating safety information for women and their families can be found.


2012 Fire Alarm Poster

Boating safety campaign

The Lifesaving Society launched a national boating safety campaign during the summer of 2009 with funding from Transport Canada's Boating Safety Class Contribution Program.

Two posters were distributed throughout Canada and displayed prominently in every province, in both large and small communities. The first, "Cold Water Kills" communicates the need to wear a lifejacket. The second, "Don't Drink and Drive" promotes responsible use of alcohol when boating.

A survey of 1,000 adults designed to measure awareness, communication effectiveness and impact of the two posters among boaters, indicated that both effectively communicated their intended boating safety messages.

Four public service announcements were also produced in both official languages for airing in 2010.

Our partners in the project included DRAFTFCB, which donated the poster development costs, and Pattison Outdoor Advertising, which delivered the lifejacket messages via mall and street signage. Further support came from the Canadian Safe Boating Council, MADD Canada and the LCBO.

Cold Water poster

If you'd like a poster to display, contact us (while supplies last).

Get certified, or row your boat

Guess what? The 10 year phase-in period for becoming a certified motor-boat operator is over. Now, anyone operating a motorized boat in Canada - regardless of age - must hold a Pleasure Craft Operator (PCO) card.


Pleasure Craft Operator Card

Be ready to show your Lifesaving Society PCO card when asked, or be prepared to pay a minimum $250 fine. Still need to take the test? You can purchase a Lifesaving Society BOAT Study Guide and review the questions to prepare to write the test; alternatively, you and your family can register for a Lifesaving Society BOAT course. Contact your local participating recreation centre, YMCA, swim school, camp, college, university or fire hall for additional information on times and availability.

Don't drink and drive your boat.
Think About It.

Alcohol is a major contributing factor in drowning among men (51%) especially when powerboating (50%).

Although progress has been made in the reduction of automobile drinking and driving offences over the past 10 years, incidences of drinking and driving a boat continue to be common place.

To reduce drinking-and-driving-a-boat behaviour we draw similarities between the dangers of the two activities: drinking and driving a car and drinking and driving a boat.


Don't Boat and Drive poster

If you'd like a poster to display, contact us (while supplies last).

BOAT training

Information about the Society's Boat Operator Accredited Training (B.O.A.T.) and related information is available in the Boating section of this website.