BOATsmart! urges Canadians to break bad boating habits in advance of long weekend

First annual BOATsmart! Awareness Day aims to put a stop to the more than 100 boating fatalities and 6,000 non-fatal injuries that occur each year in Canada by promoting safe, enjoyable and educated boating on Tuesday, May 17

TORONTO, May 10 /CNW/ - With the first big boating weekend of 2011 fast approaching, BOATsmart! is urging Canadians to be prepared before heading out on the water, through the first ever BOATsmart! Awareness Day on Tuesday, May 17.

The day will call on all boaters to ensure they are equipped with the education and equipment they need to boat safely, legally, and with confidence.

"Victoria Day long weekend has traditionally been a big one for boat operators across the country as it's usually the first chance people have to get away to their cottages and out on the water," says Cameron Taylor, President of BOATsmart! Canada, the country's leading authority on boating education and largest Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) provider.

"People from across the country will be excited to be out in their boats and that's great," says Taylor. "But along with that enthusiasm, it's important that everyone is prepared, so they can keep themselves and their loved ones safe."

Taylor says the best way for boat operators to ensure the safety of themselves and their passengers is to obtain a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC), which is required by law* for all motorized boat operators. On April 15, Transport Canada implemented a new exam (available at www.boatsmartexam.com) that sets a higher standard for people to attain their PCOC. Under the new regulations, both online and in-person exams have increased from 36 to 50 standardized questions, and those boaters who choose to take the test online are now required to complete an online study guide prior to taking the exam.

"Transport Canada has enhanced boating safety by creating an exam that's based on the latest information on prevention practices and critical safety knowledge, and provides a much more accurate assessment of a person's boating safety knowledge," says Taylor. "Now it's time for Canadian boaters to do their job by going out and getting certified."

Taylor estimates that out of the four to six million power boat operators in Canada, up to three million boaters have yet to obtain a license even though failure to present a PCOC while operating a boat can result in a $250 fine.

"More than 100 boating fatalities occur each year in Canada, with another 6,000 suffering non-fatal injuries," says Taylor. "Boat operators in this country need realize that almost all of these accidents can be prevented through proper education and boater certification."

BOATsmart! Canada is happy to announce that boaters can now purchase the official BOATsmart! Study Guide and take the Pleasure Craft Operator Card exam exclusively at participating Canadian Tire stores. BOATsmart! Safe Boating Teams will also be visiting participating Canadian Tire storefronts from May to September to administer the official PCOC exam.

"It is our hope and Canadian Tire's hope that by providing Canadian boaters with increased education and training before they head out on the water, we can significantly decrease the number of and severity of boating-related incidents this summer," says Taylor.

*or proof of competency

About BOATsmart! Canada

BOATsmart! Canada's mandate is to provide Canadians with the education and exam access necessary to obtain their Pleasure Craft Operator Card. Canadians can complete the exam online or in-person. The safe boating organization has Canada's largest network of exam centres, including participating Canadian Tire stores. BOATsmart! Canada also offers a variety of Transport Canada recognized safe boating courses, both in classroom and on the water. Each course includes the opportunity to complete the exam and obtain a Pleasure Craft Operator Card.

SOURCE BOATsmart! Canada

For further information:

or to speak to a BOATsmart! representative in your area, please contact:

Steve Dominey
613-688-1188
steve.dominey@highroad.com

Whitney Shanfield
416-797-1663
whitney.shanfield@highroad.com

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BOATsmart! Canada

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