Every summer, numerous boaters enjoy BC’s beautiful lakes, rivers, and oceans. Unfortunately, 32% of water-related fatalities in BC occur while boating, and almost 50% of these incidents involve a powerboat.1 This doesn’t mean that boaters should stop doing what they love – rather, we encourage boaters to be mindful of the risks and take the necessary steps to stay safe on the water.

Preventable is partnering on a safe boating campaign with Transport Canada, the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit and the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR). The goal is to significantly reduce the number of serious preventable injuries – including drowning – by challenging the notion that injuries just “happen” but they “won’t happen to me”.

“No one expects to fall overboard when enjoying a day out on the water,” says Pat Quealey, CEO of RCMSAR. “Too often we rescue people who have fallen into the water without wearing a lifejacket. Having the right equipment and wearing a lifejacket can save lives.”

On long weekends this summer boaters might spot RCMSAR rescue vessels out and about. RCMSAR volunteers will be talking with recreational boaters in person about 3 key campaign messages:

  • Wear a Personal Flotation Device/Lifejacket: No one expects to fall overboard – the vast majority of boaters who drowned in 2016 were not wearing a lifejacket or were wearing it incorrectly.1
  • Alcohol consumption: Drinking and boating don’t mix – over 40% of victims had consumed alcohol prior to the incident.1
  • Have the right equipment2: Make sure it is in good working condition and accessible, and know how to use it.

About Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR):

RCMSAR is a volunteer based organization that operates 33 marine rescue stations on the British Columbia coast and in the BC Interior. Volunteers conduct, on average, 800 marine rescues every year, approximately 1/3 of all marine emergencies.

Learn more at www.rcmsar.com.


  1. The British Columbia Drowning Report. Prepared for the Lifesaving Society BC & Yukon Branch by the Drowning Prevention Research Centre Canada. Accessed on May 14, 2018: http://www.lifesaving.bc.ca/british-columbia-drowning-reports
  2. Safe Boating Guide. Office of Boating Safety, Transport Canada. Accessed on May 14, 2018: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/marinesafety/debs-obs-menu-1362.htm