Boating (Stu Salkled/Black Press Media)

Amid summer sun, officials remind public to take water safety seriously

RCMP, Search and Rescue and BC branch of Lifesaving Society offer recommendations to those water-bound

Relaxing along the water, on a boat or at the beach is one of the best ways to spend a hot summer day. Despite the obvious appeal, officials are quick to remind people to be safe on the water.

All officials, including RCMP, Search and Rescue and local police, noted that everyone should be practising proper water safety by wearing lifejackets.

“We know that parents are usually very good about ensuring that children are wearing a lifejacket or PFD while on board a boat,” said Dale Miller, executive director of BC and Yukon branch of the Lifesaving Society.

“Now we have to convince adults to do the same. On the beach, parents need to be reminded to stay within arm’s reach of children, have them stay in shallow water and wear a lifejacket or PFD if they’re not a strong swimmer and not allow them to rely on inflatable devices (such as air mattresses and toys) for safety.”

RELATED: Kamloops residents concerned over river floating event amid COVID-19

In Kelowna, RCMP said in an email to Black Press Media that according to boating regulations, there must be a lifejacket in the child’s size on each vessel. While Canadian law states that there must be a lifejacket on board that fits each person on a vessel, there is no law requiring people to wear lifejackets.

“Safety is our number one priority,” said Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy, Kelowna RCMP media relations officer. “Our biggest recommendation is that parents make their children wear their lifejackets at all times.”

“It can’t save a life if it’s not on.”

According to SafeKids.org, nine out of 10 people that drown in boating incidents are not wearing lifejackets.

Kelowna RCMP, the Lifesaving Society, as well as the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue all noted that they have not seen an increase in water incidents compared to previous summers.

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