Lifejackets import part of summer

Red Cross says the most common misconception about lifejackets is that they only need to be used when someone is in need of it.

May 20 was National Lifejacket Day, and with another busy summer on the lakes ahead, the Canadian Red Cross is hoping the importance of the devices is not overlooked.

Red Cross says the most common misconception about lifejackets is that they only need to be used when someone is in need of it.

“What people don’t realize is that when falling out of a boat, they may be knocked unconscious and can drown very quickly. In the seconds when a lifejacket can save their life — when they really need it — they won’t be able to put it on,” said Kendall Watson, water program representative for Alberta.

Whether you’re a good swimmer or the weather seems too nice to have to wear one, a lifejacket is essential to safety on the lake.

“Using your lifejacket as a seat cushion, or stowing it away, won’t save you if something goes wrong. Close by just isn’t close enough when it comes to lifejackets.”

According to Red Cross, more than 400 Canadians die every year from drowning. More than 90 per cent of those deaths involve people improperly wearing their lifejackets or not wearing them at all.

“Today’s lifejackets are comfortable and stylish,” says Watson in the release. “And with inflatable lifejackets now an option, wearing a lifejacket every trip, for the whole trip, is even easier.”

For more information on swimming and water safety, visit redcross.ca