May 24, 2013
For many Canadians, the summer means getting outdoors and enjoying activities, such as fishing, boating or canoeing. Every year, Canadians die in tragic and preventable boating-related incidents. May 18 -24 is North American Safe Boating Awareness week.
There are 5 key messages that are important to the boating community:
- Wear an approved Personal Floatation Device (PFD) or Lifejacket
- Don’t Drink & Boat
- Take a Boating Course
- Be Prepared, Both You and Your Vessel
- Be Wary of the Dangers of Cold Water Immersion
Legally, you must carry an appropriately sized lifejacket on board for every passenger, but the safest way to carry it is to wear it! Boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal and irresponsible. Be Prepared! Have the appropriate safety gear for you and your vessel and know the environmental conditions before boating.
In recent years, there has been an average of 28 hospitalizations in Ontario per month associated with boating through the months of June to September. Most injuries occurred on-board a watercraft. A Canadian Red Cross report stated that only 12% of immersion fatalities were reported to be correctly wearing a lifejacket or Personal Floatation Device. Of all recreational boating immersion deaths, 93% were male and alcohol was a factor for nearly half of these.
As the summer begins, LHSC’s trauma program team would like everyone to pay attention, plan ahead and reduce the risk of being injured in a boating related incident.
As the designated Lead Trauma Hospital (LTH) for the Southwestern Ontario region, LHSC plays a leadership role in the specialized care of injured adults and children, including those involved in water-related incidents. The program coordinates services to meet regional needs and participates in local, provincial and national programs related to education, research and injury prevention.
For further information on LHSC’s Trauma program: http://www.lhsc.on.ca/About_Us/Trauma/