Tips from Transport Canada on Choosing a Life Jacket

Tips from Transport Canada on Choosing a Life Jacket Jul 29, 2022

Drowning-related fatalities account for a substantial portion of water-related deaths in Canada each year. It is now the third leading cause of unintentional death among Canadians under 60.

According to the Drowning Prevention Research Centre, over 400 Canadians drown in preventable incidents, and around 100 of these drownings are related to recreational boating. In over 80 per cent of these fatalities, a lifejacket was not worn. Communications Officer at Transport Canada in British Columbia, Aline Dumalski, gave us tips on choosing the right life jacket.

Tip #1:

Always buy a Canadian-approved lifejacket. Check the label—it will say it has been approved by Transport Canada, Canadian Coast Guard, or Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Tip #2:

When purchasing a lifejacket, always read the label that comes with the device. It will provide valuable information about size, weight, and whether it is appropriate for your intended boating activity.  

Tip #3:

Choose lifejackets that offer maximum thermal protection in case you fall in cold water. Wearing a lifejacket is the best defense for surviving cold-water shock and hypothermia.

Tip #4:

The best way to choose a lifejacket is to try it on before buying it. For a child, it should fit snuggly and not ride up over your child’s chin or ears when you gently pull up on the shoulder area. If it’s too big, it could do more harm than good. Look for a large collar with a loop that you can use to pull your child out of the water if they fall in.  A safety strap goes between the legs to prevent the life jacket from slipping up over your child’s head, working buckles on all the safety straps and reflective tape to make them easier to see.  Attaching a whistle to your child’s flotation device is also recommended so they can call for help in an emergency.

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Photo Credit: shalamov

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