Safe Boating Awareness Week takes place from May 21 to 27

The Quebec Boating Council again deplores too many boating deaths

MONTRÉAL, May 19, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - The 2016 Safe Boating Awareness Week is being held this year from May 21st to May 27th. All stakeholders connected with boating safety in the province will join with the Quebec Boating Council (Conseil Québécois du Nautisme—CQN) in raising the public's awareness to the important recommendations and safety precautions that could save lives. Over the past five years, 87 people have drowned in Quebec, i.e., approximately 17 people per year, 84% of which were men. That is too many drownings. These deaths, which have destroyed the lives of many families, could easily have been avoided through simple precautions. Since 66% of drownings occur between May and July, the CQN would like to take advantage of Safe Boating Awareness Week to provide some simple recommendations to boaters in order to avoid human tragedies.

"The victims profile has not changed much in recent years," said Yves Paquette, President of the CQN. "Victims are most often men who are familiar with the lakes and rivers on which they are boating, who are experienced boaters and good swimmers, and who, unfortunately, do not wear a PFD (Personal floating device) or are not aware of the immediate danger of cold water immersion." The CQN will therefore take advantage of the 27th Safe Boating Awareness Week to provide some important recommendations to reduce the number of drownings.

  • Wear your PFD (personal floatation device) or life jacket. Last year, 43% of victims had a PFD on board their craft but were not wearing it, 29% didn't have one at all and 7% were wearing it incorrectly. That's inconceivable in 2016.
  • Don't drink and boat. Last year, 28% of victims had consumed alcohol. Fatigue, sun, wind and boat movements dull the senses. Alcohol intensifies those effects, reducing fine motor skills (e.g., eye-hand coordination) and impairing judgment.
  • Take a boating course. Venturing out on the water without training is like driving a car, motorcycle or truck without having taken a driving course. That's fine on a small or very calm lake or river, but what would you do if a problem were to arise? On the water, many factors could affect your boating (winds, tides, currents). Training will adequately prepare you and help you react properly.
  • Prepare yourself and your boat. Good preparation includes, among other things, inspecting your craft, monitoring weather conditions, making a trip plan and sharing it, and making sure you have all your safety equipment on board. It's important. A heaving line could be the difference between the life and death of a child or a friend.
  • Beware of the dangers of cold-water immersion. Entry into water below 15°C can instantly paralyze your muscles. The first minutes, which correspond to cold shock, are the most critical. If you survive this first phase, swimming failure and hypothermia are the next dangers that may befall boaters.

The past five years in figures

  • 87 drownings occurred on Quebec bodies of water.
  • 84% of victims were men.
  • 43% of victims were between the ages of 40 and 59.
  • 66% of drownings occurred during the months of May, June and July.
  • 39% of victims had consumed alcohol.
  • 36% of drownings occurred during hunting and fishing activities.
  • 50% of drownings occurred during boating activities.
  • 81% of victims were not wearing their PFD or were wearing it incorrectly.

The beginning of the boating season is an exciting time for boaters and water sports enthusiasts alike. The CQN would like to wish all boaters an excellent and safe season.

Source of the statistics: Office of Boating Safety, Transport Canada.

About the Quebec Boating Council
Founded in 1989, the Quebec Boating Council is a not-for-profit association that works to promote safe boating. The Council comprises key stakeholders and organizations related to boat safety in the province, including the Sûreté du Québec, the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary (Quebec), the Service de police de la ville de Montréal, Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons, the Canadian Hydrographic Service, the Ministère de l'Éducation et de l'Enseignement supérieur, the Lifesaving Society, the Quebec Marine Association and


SOURCE Conseil québécois du nautisme

For further information: Suggested interviews: Yves Paquette, President, Quebec Boating Council, Raynald Hawkins, Secretary and Treasurer, Quebec Boating Council, Jérôme Landry, Mayor of Matane, who survived a near-drowning thanks to a PFD; To request information, schedule an interview or on-water demonstration, or obtain additional statistics: Anne-Marie Roy, Masse Agency, Phone: 418-845-6344 / 844-845-6344, Cell: 581-983-8343, Email:

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Conseil québécois du nautisme

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