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The May long weekend in 2024 not only signals the beginning of summer but also marks Safe Boating Awareness Week across Canada. Authorities in British Columbia are emphasizing the importance of safety while enjoying water activities, with RCMP Staff Sgt. Ross Lundie stressing the significance of following safety measures to ensure the wellbeing of all boaters. Unfortunately, this year’s Awareness Week started on a tragic note, as three individuals lost their lives and five others were injured in a boating accident on Bobs Lake in Ontario. The incident involved a collision between an open-bow fishing boat and a speedboat, resulting in multiple fatalities and injuries.

As boating season begins, the Canadian Safe Boating Council highlights the need for vigilance and caution on the water. With fewer boaters expected in the early stages of the season, the likelihood of prompt assistance in case of emergencies is reduced. The Council offers several safety reminders to boaters, including the importance of wearing a lifejacket, avoiding intoxicants while operating a boat, and obtaining the necessary certification for powerboat operation. It also emphasizes the need for proper preparedness, such as checking weather forecasts, having essential safety gear on board, and filing a trip plan to ensure a safe and incident-free boating experience.

The Safe Boating Council urges boaters to undergo specialized training and familiarize themselves with boating basics to ensure they are well-prepared for any situation that may arise on the water. Being equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills can help prevent accidents and minimize risks while boating. Additionally, being aware of the dangers of cold water immersion is essential, as even experienced swimmers can be affected by sudden exposure to cold water. By staying informed and practicing safety measures, boaters can enjoy a safe and enjoyable boating season while reducing the burden on rescue crews.

RCMP Staff Sgt. Ross Lundie encourages all boaters, whether experienced or new to the activity, to review and enhance their safety knowledge to ensure a safe boating experience. Boating safety is not just a focus for Safe Boating Awareness Week but should be a year-round commitment for all individuals taking part in water activities. Mike Dean, Chairperson of the Canadian Safe Boating Council, underscores the importance of wearing lifejackets at all times and ensuring that everyone on board follows safety protocols to minimize risks and prevent accidents. By prioritizing safety and adhering to best practices, boaters can enjoy a fun and incident-free boating season while promoting a culture of safe boating practices.

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