Lifesaving Society translates boating tips into 33 languages to help all
Canadians to be safe when boating this Canada Day weekend

OPG funding helps tips reach more Canadians

TORONTO, June 29 /CNW/ - The Lifesaving Society has partnered with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to translate 10 important boating safety tips into 33 languages in an effort to reach out to Canadians whose first language is not English. The Society hopes these tips will ensure that all Canadians know what they need to do to be safe around water this summer.

Barbara Byers, Public Education Director with the Lifesaving Society says it is critical to reach out to new Canadians in their first language to ensure they receive important safety information before they go boating this summer.

"We know that an average of 140 Canadians drown in boating incidents each year," says Byers. "More than 80 per cent of victims are men. More than 90 per cent are not wearing lifejackets."

Byers notes that more than 125,000 newcomers immigrate to Ontario each year, many are from countries where recreational boating is not part of their experience. "Canada Day weekend is for many the start of boating season and we want to ensure that they have a safe trip when they are out on the water," she says.

The tips have been translated into the following languages: Arabic; Simple Chinese; Traditional Chinese; Czech; Farsi; Greek; Gujarati; Hindi; Hungarian; Italian; Khmer; Korean; Macedonian; Pashto; Polish; Portuguese; Punjabi; Romanian; Russian; Somali; Spanish; Tagalog; Tamil; Twi; Ukrainian; Urdu; Vietnamese; and four First Nations languages - Cree, Ojibway, Ojicree and Mohawk.

The translation project was made possible by Ontario Power Generation's commitment to reach all Canadians with water safety information, especially around dams. OPG's key message is: Obey all warning signs and buoys around hydroelectric stations and dams; waters can change in a matter of seconds from a scenic calm to a deadly torrent. "Stay Clear, Stay Safe."

This tip sheet also addresses the ethnic media's desire for multilingual safety tips and is available for broadcast media to use in their news segments. The Lifesaving Society encourages print media, community groups and boating safety organizations to download these "printer friendly" tips and distribute the tip sheets at community events, use it in their newsletters and share it with their members. The tips are posted at www.lifesavingsociety.com.

    
    Top tips for safe boating:

    -   Cold water is deadlier than you think. Prepare for the shock of cold
        water - always wear a lifejacket.
    -   Alcohol and boating do not mix. Leave the alcohol on shore.
    -   Check the forecast. Return to shore immediately if bad weather
        approaches.
    -   Obey all warning signs and buoys around hydroelectric stations and
        dams; waters can change in a matter of seconds from a scenic calm to
        a deadly torrent. "Stay Clear, Stay Safe."
    -   Drive powerboats responsibly - use appropriate speed especially when
        the water is choppy.
    -   Stay seated! You can easily fall out of a small powerboat, canoe, or
        kayak.
    -   Be prepared. Ensure your vessel has the required safety gear on board
        and sufficient fuel.
    -   Carry a VHF radio or cell phone with you when on the water.
    -   Always tell someone where you are going and when you will return.
    -   Get trained. Learn how to survive an unexpected fall into the water.
    

In Canada, 508 people drowned in 2006, the most recent year for which complete data is available. The number of water-related deaths in Ontario is on the rise. In Ontario in 2006, there were 182 drownings, representing an increase of 11 per cent. In 2005 there were 164 drowning deaths and 132 in 2004.

About the Lifesaving Society

The Lifesaving Society - Canada's lifeguarding expert - is a charitable organization working to prevent drowning and water-related injury through its training programs, Water Smart(R) public education, water-incident research, safety management services and lifesaving sport. Annually, more than 700,000 Canadians participate in the Society's swimming, lifesaving, lifeguard and leadership training courses. For more information, visit www.lifesavingsociety.com.

SOURCE Lifesaving Society

For further information: For further information: Barbara Byers, Lifesaving Society, 416-490-8844 ex. 259, 416-727-5636 (cell), barbarab@lifeguarding.com


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