Boating can be a fun recreational activity, but if not taken seriously it can also be a deadly activity. Take a look at these boating statistics for Ontario:

· There were approximately 18 boating fatalities in Ontario in 2012

· 80% of people killed in boating accidents were not wearing a life-jacket.

· Alcohol was a factor in 40% of boating fatalities.

· Cold water played a part in 45% of boating deaths.

· 50% of boating deaths took place on a calm sunny day.

· 40% of people involved in boating fatalities had their boats capsized and 25% were those who fell overboard.

· 29% died while boating alone.

· 50% of boating deaths took place on powerboats, 22% on canoes, 5% on kayaks, and the remaining 23% were a combination of sailboats, rowboats and other water craft.

· Men were four times more likely to die in a boating accident than women.

BOATsmart!, Canada’s leader in boating safety the country’s largest Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) provider, offers these five simple tips for safe boating:

1. Get Your BOATsmart! Operator Card – All operators of motorized vessels require a Pleasure Craft Operator Card. Test your knowledge, learn boating safety skills and take the official Transport Canada Accredited exam at Your passengers will be at ease knowing you are qualified to drive them around the waterways.

Cameron Taylor photo

2. Wear a Life Jacket – It’s simple. Wearing a Lifejacket or Personal Flotation Device (PFD) greatly reduces your risk of drowning. Eighty nine percent of people who drown while boating are not wearing a life jacket. Having them on board is not enough; Lifejackets don’t work unless you wear them! So be sure that everyone on board is wearing an approved PFD before heading out on the water

3. Don’t Drink and Boat – Alcohol and boating don’t mix – ever. In fact, the effects of alcohol are up to four times greater on the water due of the motion of your craft, the wind, waves and hot summer sun. Keep hydrated by drinking water – and keep the alcohol on shore.

4. Be Prepared – Make sure your boat, safety equipment and passengers are prepared for a safe day on the water. Check your local weather before heading out and leave extra gas in the tank for a safe trip home. Have the confidence of insurance protection. Recreational boat insurance is available at

5. Refresh Your Knowledge – Both novice and experienced boaters can benefit from taking a BOATsmart! course. From emergency preparedness to right-of-way rules, you’ll learn everything you need to boat with confidence. If you already have your boating license but need a quick refresher, be sure to download the BOATsmart! CONNECT APP complete with Free Animated Refresher Lessons for iPhone and Android.

For more information and boat safety advice, please visit


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Sheri McDonald is a family lifestyle blogger who has been sharing her parenting and travel adventures online for the past eight years. You can find her discovering the world with her children when she's not at home enjoying a good book.


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