safe boating awareness week

May 16th-22nd, 2020

Since 1995, Safe Boating Awareness Week has been the mainstay of boating safety to over 16 million people who recreate on Canadian waters. The 2020 campaign will still be reaching out to Canadian boaters but, due to Covid-19, will be a little different in many ways.

Boating is not quite into full gear yet, with some areas of the country open and some soon to open. Because many are getting onto the water in time for Safe Boating Awareness week, we want to remind you of not just our 5 key messages for boating safely, we will also want you to keep in mind recommendations related to physical distancing and who should be and not be on your boat.

A key issue as the boating season begins is for now you can expect fewer boaters on the water, so there will be less chance of having help close at hand if you run into trouble. Plus, if you do get into trouble, you will put extra stress onto rescue resources.

The CSBC Safe Boating Awareness Week messages this season are:

  1. Wear Your Lifejacket - Over 80% of Canadians who drown while boating were not wearing their lifejacket or not wearing it properly. There are so many choices for lifejackets / personal floatation devices on the market now, it is easy to pick one that suits your ‘boating style’ and is one that you are comfortable wearing all the time you are on the water.
  2. Boat Sober - Whether it’s prescription drugs, alcohol or cannabis, the use of intoxicants is both irresponsible and illegal. In some provinces, being convicted of impaired operation will also affect your automobile license.
  3. Be Prepared, You and Your Boat - Make sure you and your boat are up to your planned on-water activities. That means you are knowledgeable about your upcoming trip, your boat is properly equipped with the required and good to have safety equipment, the weather is suitable for the voyage, you have sufficient fuel and you have filed a trip plan. Plus, this is not all about you…it is important to keep in mind that by staying out of trouble you will not be putting pressure on rescue resources.
  4. Take a Boating Course – If you are operating a powered recreational vessel, you should have your Pleasure Craft Operator Card or some other proof of competency. But that is just as start, so consider taking some advanced courses. If your boating preference tends towards paddle, this is the perfect time to enroll in some on water training. Or if you are just starting out, log onto and start your boating in a paddle craft responsibly. The site is not a substitute for on water training, but it does provide a great first step in education about paddle craft.
  5. Be Aware of Cold-Water Risks - Cold water can severely impact your ability to swim or even just stay afloat. Even the best swimmers will feel the effects of a sudden cold-water immersion. No matter your swimming ability, best chance of surviving an accidental cold-water immersion is to wear your lifejacket!

Boating is a favourite pastime for many Canadians. It can reduce the stress of social isolation and it’s a great family activity. By its very nature, boating provides the ideal way to get out and enjoy the outdoors while still maintaining social distancing practices.

It won’t be long before all of the Canadian waters are opened and the CSBC wants you to have a super season on the water this summer.

Stay safe - stay separated – have fun.


Media

The media continues to be the key platform for disseminating boating safety messaging to those who will head out on Canadian waterways in their powerboats, sailboats, canoes, kayaks and personal watercraft this season.

Available on the CSBC website is a variety of readily usable press releases as well as downloadable print, radio and television PSAs to interest your listeners, viewers and readers. For interview purposes, we can also provide access to local volunteers. Simply contact Ian Gilson (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to arrange.


Boating Safety Outreach Volunteers

Volunteers are the backbone of the Safe Boating Awareness Week Campaign at the local level. The materials that are available on this site are ideal for use in

  • Approaching your local Community Newspaper, Television or Radio stations requesting that the materials be included in their publication or broadcast content.
  • Incorporating into your organization’s member newsletters, press releases and customer outreach communications.
  • Interviews that you may be approached to provide as a local boating safety enthusiast or professional.

With everyone's continued support, the CSBC along with its members and partners can continue to reduce the number of recreational boating incidents and help to save lives.

Have a fun and safe boating season!!!

For more information relating to Safe Boating Awareness Week, please e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Physical Distancing for Canadian Boaters TC Thumb
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How to Social Distance on a Boat Boating Ontario Thumb
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