FOR MARINE EMERGENCIES PLEASE CONTACT JOINT RESCUE COORDINATION CENTRE (JRCC) on VHF Channel 16 or CALL *16 or #727
North American Safe Boating Awareness Week takes place from May 22 to May 28, 2021.

The purpose of Safe Boating Awareness Week (SBAW) is to promote safe and responsible boating practices in our communities across Canada. This awareness campaign is managed by the CSBC (Canadian Safe Boating Council) and its boat and water safety partners including marine emergency responders like the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR).

In Canada, 16 million people enjoy recreational boating.  That number continues to climb driven largely by COVID-19 travel restrictions as more people in our communities venture out on the water keeping closer to home. Marine dealers across North America have reported empty shelves of boating safety gear and exhausted inventories of new and used boats as many people new to boating are taking to the water for the first time.

As we enter SBAW all boaters should focus on the following five key messages.  They include:

  1. Wear a lifejacket.
  2. Boat sober.  
  3. Be prepared.  Both you and your boat.
  4. Take a boating course.
  5. Be aware of cold water risks.

“Canada’s Pacific Coast is vast and can be remote.  Whether you’re tuna fishing off the west coast of Vancouver Island, cruising the north coast, or trying your luck to catch a salmon on the south coast, it’s important to keep these messages in mind,” says Aaron Harnden, the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue’s Marine Safety Specialist.

However not all people are prepared to participate in outdoor activities as search and rescue organizations across the province are reporting one of their busiest years on record responding to calls for help as more British Columbians spend time in nature during the pandemic. Last summer many of RCMSAR’s marine search and rescue stations experienced an increase in call-outs; that number is expected to grow.

In addition to these boating safety messages, RCMSAR also recommends that boaters leave a Sail Plan with loved ones prior to going out on the water. Boaters should also familiarize themselves with the area they are visiting, including commercial traffic zones.  Always have a means of communicating in the event of an emergency and remember that remote areas can lack reliable cellular coverage. “Above all, when you are faced with an emergency on the water, don’t hesitate to call for help channel 16 via a marine VHF radio or call *16 or #727 or 1-800-567-5111 on your cell phone,” shares Harnden.

To help deliver these boating messages in British Columbia, the CSBC is also working with the Lifesaving Society B.C. & Yukon Branch, Transport Canada and the RCMP.

Go to www.sbaw.ca to access videos from CSBC partners that can be downloaded by media or shared on social media.

For additional information on boating safety, visit BetterBoater.ca or STARTBoating.ca.



About Safe Boating Awareness Week
Safe Boating Awareness Week is promoted by the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC), a registered charity, with support from its members, partners, and Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety. Since 1995, Safe Boating Awareness Week has been the mainstay of boating safety communication among millions of Canadian Boaters.

About Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue
The Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) is a not-for-profit volunteer-based organization that operates more than 30 marine rescue stations along the coast of British Columbia and in-land waters. With over 900 volunteers, emergency response crews are on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week ready to respond to marine emergencies. RCMSAR volunteers also prevent emergencies by providing the public boating safety information, conduct pleasure craft safety checks and provide free access to children’s lifejackets at PFD loaner stations located at many docks and marinas in the communities that they serve through the Kids Don’t Float program. RCMSAR’s mission is “Saving lives on the water”.

For interviews contact:    

  • Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue – Director of Readiness, Ralph Mohrmann, 1-250-812-8976  ralph.mohrmann@rcmsar.com
  • BC RCMP – Cpl. Chris Manseau, Division Media Relations Officer, 250-413-7954 chris.manseau@rcmp-grc.gc.ca
  • Lifesaving Society B.C. & Yukon Branch – Executive Director Dale Miller, 1-604-299-5450 ext.104 www.lifesaving.bc.ca
  • Transport Canada – Pacific Region – Jeff Desson, media@tc.gc.ca  1-613-993-0055