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This is Safe Boating Awareness Week

Victor Lewin - Sunday, May 24, 2015

Recently, the Canadian Minister of Transport and the Parliamentary member representing Bruce -- Grey -- Owen Sound, kicked off North American Safe Boating Awareness Week. They issued a joint announcement that there was new funding allocated for safe boating projects through Transport Canada's Boating Safety Contribution Program.

The BSCP has supplied nearly $3 million in the last six years to fund 54 projects devoted to recreational boating safety throughout Canada. There are two main components for the program. One revolves around safer boating habits on commercial fishing fleets and the other deals with recreational boating safety. Up to 75 per cent of the projects' price tag is funded through the BSCP.

There are roughly 10 million Canadians who are recreational boaters. Approximately 100 boating deaths occur each year on Canadian waters. The vast majority (90 per cent) of drowning victims in recreational boating accidents die without wearing a personal flotation device or lifejacket.

Below are some fast facts for recreational boaters.

-- Canada law requires all boats used for recreation that have a 10 horsepower motor or larger to be licensed as a pleasure craft.

-- Boaters also need to have their IDs and competency proof on their person at all times on the water. Competency can be verified with a Pleasure Craft Operator Card. The cards are assigned following the successful completion of boating safety courses and passing the exam.

-- Maintain recreational boats in good condition and recycle wrecked boats responsibly. Boats that are simply abandoned pose environmental problems, marine hazards and risk to the public safety, as well as costing the community money.

-- Boozing and cruising on the water don't mix. The same laws against impaired driving also apply on the waterways.

Boating deaths attributable to another's negligence can result in costly civil claims being filed against the responsible party.

Source: Government of Canada, "Government of Canada launches North American Safe Boating Awareness Week with new funding for boating safety projects," May 15, 2015

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