Boating and Lifejackets

With so many lakes and rivers, Canadians are avid boaters. Canoes, kayaks, motorboats, houseboats - there are so many ways to enjoy the water. But when approximately 26% of drownings each year occur during boating activities, it's important to know the key things that keep you safe. Make sure you check out our Boating Safety Tips.

Boating safety facts

  • All powercraft boaters are required by law to carry a Personal Craft Operator Card (PCO).
  • In 80% of boating deaths, boaters are not wearing lifejackets.
  • Alcohol consumption is a factor in most boating deaths and accidents.
  • Drinking and driving your boat can result in losing your driver's licence.

Key boating safety tips

  • Wear a lifejacket! Most boating fatalities occur when not wearing lifejacket.
  • Lifejackets aren't one size fits all - check for proper fit.
  • Most drownings occur within 15 metres of shore - wearing a lifejacket alone can save your life.
  • Don't drink and drive your boat - it impairs judgment and you could lose your licence.
  • Carry a safety kit, including a cell phone, and check the weather.

Learn to Swim

Basic swimming ability is a fundamental requirement in any meaningful attempt to eliminate drowning in Canada. The Lifesaving Society offers training programs from learn-to-swim through advanced lifesaving, lifeguarding and leadership.

Our Swim for Life program stresses lots of in-water practice to develop solid swimming strokes and skills. We incorporate valuable Water Smart® education that will last a lifetime.

Swim to Survive is a Lifesaving Society survival training program. Swim to Survive is not a subsititute for swimming lessons; instead, it defines the minimum skills needed to survive an unexpected fall into deep water. People of all ages should be able to perform the Society's Swim to Survive standard.