Last year 22 people were lost in drowning deaths in Ontario, 18 of them were not wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) or a life jacket.
In northeastern Ontario alone, six men drowned, none of them wearing a PFD.
Some complain that the PFD is too uncomfortable. The technology of PFD has come a long way, you don’t even notice they are on, until you are in the water fighting for your life. The common response - I have a life jacket right here in the boat - just simply doesn’t hold water!
When an emergency happens you don’t have time to put one on - it’s unexpected and almost impossible to get one on once your in the water, that’s if you can reach your life jacket at all. Cold water upsets are even deadlier.
I often hear that the cost of PFD is too expensive. If inflated, recharging costs another $20.
Thousands of dollars are spent on our water sports, but regrettably safety comes at too high a price for some people.
My quick calculation for the cost of fishing may drive the point home - boat and motor $4,000 - $30,000; fishing gear $300 - $1,000; trolling motor $150 - $600; sunglasses $160 - $300; self-inflating personal flotation device (PFD) $120 - $600. In the big picture, a PDF is not much of an expense - it’s a cost of doing business that could save your life.
On the flip side, the average cost of a funeral in Ontario $10,000.
Please, this season wear a PFD - your families will thank you.
Mark E. Andrews
Inspector Unit Commander
Traffic and Marine North East Region