Safe Boating Awareness Week is recognized across Canada coast to coast during the week of May 18th to May 24th, 2024. It is managed by the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC). The purpose of this initiative is to promote safe and responsible boating practices to over 16 million people who recreate on Canadian waters.

Boating is not quite in full gear yet, with some areas of the country open and some soon to open. A key issue as the boating season begins is for now you can expect fewer boaters on the water, so there will be less chance of having help close at hand if you run into trouble, therefore this puts extra stress onto rescue resources.

The CSBC Safe Boating Awareness Week messages this season are:

  1. Wear Your Lifejacket – Over 80% of Canadians who drown while boating were not wearing their lifejacket or not wearing it properly. There are so many choices for lifejackets / personal floatation devices on the market now, it is easy to pick one that suits your ‘boating style’ and is one that you are comfortable wearing all the time you are on the water.
  2. Boat Sober – Whether it’s prescription drugs, alcohol or cannabis, the use of intoxicants is both irresponsible and illegal. In some provinces, being convicted of impaired operation will also affect your automobile license.
  3. Take a Boating Course – If you are operating a powered recreational vessel, you should have your Pleasure Craft Operator Card or some other proof of competency. But that is just the start, so consider taking some advanced courses. If your boating preference tends towards paddle, this is the perfect time to enroll in some on water training. Or if you are just starting out, log onto and start your boating in a paddle craft responsibly. The site is not a substitute for water training, but it provides a great first step in education about paddle craft.
  1. Be Prepared, You and Your Vessel– Make sure you and your boat are up to your planned on-water activities. That means you are knowledgeable about your upcoming trip, your boat is properly equipped with the required and good to have safety equipment, the weather is suitable for the voyage, you have sufficient fuel and you have filed a trip plan. Plus, this is not all about you…it is important to keep in mind that by staying out of trouble you will not be putting pressure on rescue resources.
  1. Be Cold Water Safe– Cold water can severely impact your ability to swim or even just stay afloat. Even the best swimmers will feel the effects of a sudden cold-water immersion. No matter your swimming ability, the best chance of surviving an accidental cold-water immersion is to wear your lifejacket!

Canadian Safe Boating Council: