Safe Boating Awareness Week runs from May 22-28. This season, the Canadian Safe Boating Council encourages the public to wear a life-jacket, boat sober, be prepared, take a boating course, and be aware of cold-water risks.
“Safe operation of a boat is very critical, you can get hurt pretty bad by somebody whose not paying attention,” said Dave Mellin, president of the Comox Valley Marine Rescue Society. “Drunk driving a boat is just as bad as being in a car.”
If someone happens to come out of a boat and hit the water, which is cold most times of the year, Mellin said the reflex action is to gasp and take in water. “Then you have an issue.”
The CVMRS recommends wearing a Personal Flotation Device. Mellin notes that new life-jackets are more compact than the old ones. Some will automatically deploy.
The volunteer-run CVMRS operates 365 days a year. It supports the Royal Canadian Marine Search & Rescue — Station 60.
The society has a Kids Don’t Float display at the Comox Marina.
“Of course, water and boats are just magnets for little kids,” Mellin said. “We have the loaner life-jackets there for them to use, free. We’re trying to educate families and guardians of kids. You can’t turn your back on kids when they’re near the water.”