As Safe Boating Week begins (it starts May 19) the Canadian Coast Guard is among those who are urging boaters to make sure they have enough approved life jackets on board the vessel for every passenger, and that they’re easily accessible.
Don’t store them underneath a seat or below deck. Better yet, wear them! Donning a life jacket is much harder once you’re in the water, especially if you’re injured.
The advice comes as the Coast Guard’s Inshore Rescue Boat station at Port Lambton on the St. Clair River opens. It is now ready to respond to marine search and rescue incidents.
There are six Inshore Rescue Boat stations across Ontario crewed by post-secondary students hired and trained by the Canadian Coast Guard. They provide marine search and rescue service during the busy summer recreational boating season.
Ashore, Canadian Coast Guard Marine Communications and Traffic Services centres in Sarnia and Prescott provide marine safety communications while co-ordination of the response to each search and rescue case is handled by the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Trenton.
An inshore rescue boat crew at Thames River on Lake St Clair rescued three American men Friday, May 18 after a small fishing boat capsized.
Using their rigid-hulled inflatable boat the Coast Guard located the men several kilometres from shore and pulled them from the water. Two of the men were wearing lifejackets, the third was not. The Coast Guard took them to a nearby dock where they were transferred to an ambulance. They were hypothermic.
Emergencies on the water can be reported 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, toll-free (within Canada) at 1-800-267-7270, and via marine VHF radio – channel 16. Star 16 on your cell phone is another option.