Drowning is one of the biggest causes of preventable death

Did you know that 67% of drownings occur from May to September?

According to Lifesaving Society of BC & Yukon’s Drowning Board & Map, 59% of all boating related water-related fatalities occur when people are using a powerboat, followed by 11% using a canoe and 10% using an Inflatable Craft. Further, more men fall victim to drowning with those between the ages of 20-34 deemed the greatest at risk.

Drowning is one of the biggest causes of preventable death in the world today. It is also the third leading cause of unintentional death for those under 60 years of age as detailed by the World Health Organization.

The Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) encourages boaters to be mindful of the risks and take the necessary steps to stay safe on the water. When heading out on a boat this summer, please ensure that:

    • Wear a PFD: Both you and your family should wear an appropriately sized lifejacket or personal floatation device
    • Boat sober
    • Supervise and stay within arms-reach of children or weak swimmers, and
    • Call for help: When faced with a marine emergency, don’t hesitate to call for help: use VHF CH 16 (channel 16 via a marine VHF radio) or call *16 or #727 on your cell phone or dial 9-1-1.

“Boating in BC can be an extremely enjoyable activity but you must be prepared to go out on the water,” says Bill Riggs, CEO of RCMSAR. “Most importantly ensure that everyone onboard wears a certified and proper fitting lifejacket. It can save your life!”

If you do not have a lifejacket or PFD for your child, look to a community near you for one of RCMSAR’s Kids Don’t Float PFD Loaner Stations located at over one hundred docks and marinas along the coast and in the Shuswap.

For more information on drowning prevention, visit the Lifesaving Society of BC & Yukon Branch at

About Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR)

RCMSAR is a not-for-profit volunteer-based organization that operates more than 30 marine rescue stations along the coast of British Columbia from Vancouver’s busy harbour to the remote waters of the North Coast and in-land waters. RCMSAR’s mission is Saving lives on the water. Learn more at


    1. The British Columbia Drowning Board & Map, Lifesaving Society BC & Yukon Branch. Accessed on July 16, 2021:
    2. Drowning: Key Facts, World Health Organization. Accessed on July 16, 2021:
    3. The British Columbia Drowning Report Infographic, prepared for the Lifesaving Society BC & Yukon Branch by the Drowning Prevention Research Centre Canada. Accessed on July 16, 2021: