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A Lifejacket Only Works if Your Wear It

(NC) Around 100 people die in boating-related accidents every year. For many, wearing a properly sized lifejacket or personal flotation device would have made the difference between life and death.

The law requires that all recreational boats have enough Canadian-approved flotation devices of the appropriate size, for everyone on board. You may choose between a lifejacket or a personal flotation device (PFD).

Here are some things to consider:

How big is your boat?

• Large vessel (with cabin[s])

• Open small boat (under 6m/20 ft)

Where will you be?

• Open water (ocean, big lakes),

• Near shore (small lakes, calm rivers, remote areas), or

• Fast water (white water or flood conditions)

What will you do?

• Go canoeing, kayaking, or paddle boarding

• Enjoy towing sports

• Sail

• Fish and hunt

• Cruise

How should it fit?

• Comfort is important, so shop around for a lifejacket that will look and feel great on you.

• It must fit snugly so it doesn’t ride up over your chin or ears.

• Do not buy a size for a child to “grow into.” It must fit now. Also look for the handle on the collar and crotch strap when buying a child’s PFDs.

• Test your new PFD in the water to learn how it works. Swim, float and play in the water so you are comfortable wearing it.

Does it still float?

• Don’t rely on a worn out lifejacket (or flotation device). Regularly check to make sure it still floats properly.

To learn more about lifejackets, PFDs and boating safety, visit the Transport Canada website at www.tc.gc.ca/boatingsafety.

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