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'Fatalities every year:' How you can stay safe while boating

As boating season arrives, it’s important for Manitobans to take safety measures and remember how quickly conditions can change out on the water.

Every year, drownings take place in the province, but there are ways to prevent water emergencies. On average, there are 22 drowning deaths a year in Manitoba.

“We see fatalities every year,” said Christopher Love, the water smart and safety management coordinator with the Lifesaving Society of Manitoba.

“About 40 per cent of all the drowning deaths we see here in Manitoba occur because of boating accidents.”

Love noted that in 90 to 95 per cent of boating fatalities a life jacket was not worn or even on the boat. However, these flotation devices can be life-saving.

“[Lifejackets] are nice, they’re lightweight, they’re easy to use. They can save your life,” he said, adding that some people use different life jackets for various activities.

Along with wearing a life jacket, Love suggests following these steps when going out boating:

  • Have your pleasure craft operator card with you;
  • Ensure your boat is equipped with all the appropriate safety equipment;
  • Be aware of the dangers of cold water; and
  • Always boat sober.

“Do not be under the influence of any intoxicants, whether that is alcohol, prescription drugs, illegal drugs, cannabis, it doesn’t matter,” Love said.

Love also recommends boaters use the Weather to Boat app, which provides safety, weather and mapping information.

- With files from CTV’s Nicole Dube. Top Stories

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