British Columbia—60% of water-related fatalities occur during the summer months,1 and The Community Against Preventable Injuries (Preventable) wants to remind British Columbians that drowning and other boating-related injuries are preventable.

Starting the May long weekend and running until Labour Day, recreational boaters will be reminded to have a word with themselves before they go out and enjoy BC’s beautiful lakes, rivers, and oceans this summer. Messaging will be displayed at select marinas, in nearby restaurants and pubs, on billboards and transit stops, and online.

Volunteers from the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) will engage directly with recreational boaters to remind British Columbians of the risks of drinking alcohol while boating, to wear a lifejacket or personal flotation device (PFD), and to make sure they have equipment that is in good working condition and accessible, and that they know how to use it.

“No one expects to fall overboard when enjoying a day out on the water,” says Pat Quealey, CEO of RCMSAR. “Too often we rescue people who have fallen into the water without wearing a lifejacket. Having the right equipment and wearing a lifejacket can save lives.”

“32% of water-related fatalities in BC occur while boating, higher than the national average of 26%,”1,5  says Dr. Ian Pike, spokesperson for Preventable. “We want to remind British Columbians that drowning and boating-related injuries don’t just ‘happen’—they are preventable.”

This campaign is aimed at recreational boaters, which includes paddlers and other operators of human-powered crafts; operators of small power boats (under 6 metres) and sailboats, and operators of other pleasure crafts.

The campaign is part of a three-year project with Preventable, BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit, and the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue. Funding is provided by Transport Canada. To learn more about preventable injuries, visit www.preventable.ca. To learn more about RCMSAR, visit www.rcmsar.com.