Play It Safe Or Don't Play At All

Pro tips for National Safe Boating Week

Editor's Note: In honour of National Safe Boating week, we asked safety expert Lindsey Jeremiah of BOATsmart! to address the most crucial concerns for the Ontario boater. It turns out being safe on the water isn't any more difficult to pull off than having a good time. And around here we know how easy that is! 

Life Jackets 101

We thought about it and can't find a good reason not to wear a life jacket.

May 21-27 is National Safe Boating Week,  and the timing for this important awareness campaign couldn't be more perfect. Boaters are opening up cottages, sweeping out cobwebs from the boathouse, backing boat trailers down launch ramps and hitting the lakes for the first cruise of summer! The Safe Boating Week message for boaters is simple and important: play it safe and always follow these rules...

  1. Always wear a life jacket
  2. Don't drink and boat
  3. Get your boat license—visit BOATsmart to get yours today!
  4. Be prepared—do you have all of your required safety equipment?
  5. Be aware of the effects of cold water immersion.
Let's talk life jackets.

Among the activity buzz of opening season, boaters should be pulling life jackets out of storage, testing them for buoyancy, fitting them on kids who have grown a few inches over the winter, and replacing them if they are ripped or badly faded. Are you giving you life jackets some love?

Address the haters (aka: the non-wearers).

We've heard every excuse from our friends and family members about why they don't want to wear a life jacket. So, we've addressed the most common ones out there and as you may have predicted, the excuses for not wanting to buckle up are laughably weak.

Common Excuses For Not Wearing A Life Jacket

  • It's scratchy. (Not anymore—many modern life jackets are made of neoprene fabric, which is softer than most people's skin.)
  • It looks bad. (Lies. The life jacket renaissance has arrived and if you haven't heard—safety is sexy.)
  • It gives me tan lines. (Maybe the classic orange foamies from 20 years ago did. But modern life jackets are barely there when worn, plus the sun causes cancer so the "tan lines" excuse went stale around the same time as tan accelerators.)
  • It gets in the way when I'm wakeboarding. (No way—even the pros wear lifejackets! Check out Canadian pro boarder Chad Sharpe's video about his recent drowning accident:
  • It's wet from the last rider. (So what? If you're getting towed, you'll be wet too!)
  • It doesn't fit. (So buy on that does?! Duh. Check out this year's good-looking line-up from Mustang Survival.)
  • It's hot. (Feeling a bit warm, are we? Well you're at the lake—go for a swim.)

Why You Should Always Wear a Life Jacket

If you're an excuse-maker, or you know someone who is, just remember these reasons why *all* of us should *always* wear our life jackets:

  • It will save your life.
  • It will save your friend's life.
  • It will save your sister's life.
  • It will save your brothers's life.
  • It will save your mom's life.
  • It will save your dad's life.
  • It will save your daughter's life.
  • It will save your son's life.
  • It will save your grandma's life.
  • It will save your grandpa's life. 
  • It will save your dog's life. 


So play it safe and wear it, Ontario! Be an active participant in National Safe Boating Week by wearing your life jacket and taking a BOATsmart! Safe Boating Course!

About Lindsey Jeremiah

Lindsey lives on the shores of Stoney Lake, next door to Irwin Inn, where the Irwin family built the original lodge back in 1947. Lindsey is an outdoor girl with an MA in Communications. She grew up in Ontario’s cottage country and after finishing school and trying Toronto on for size, she opted to return to Ontario’s ‘lake country’. Lindsey now works as the Educational Program Coordinator for BOATsmart!, Canada’s leader in Boating Safety Education–so even when at the office, she’s thinking about boating!

Recommended Articles

19 Charming Lighthouses to Visit in Northern Ontario

Ever wanted to live like a lighthouse keeper? Now's your chance!

Cruise the Trent Severn Waterway in Style

Cruising the Upper Ottawa River

3 routes to explore on your boat.

Where to Rent a Boat in Ontario

9 places for the perfect Ontario summer getaway on a boat.

Where to Float Your Boat

The Big List of All Major Waterways in Ontario

Where to Rent Personal Watercraft in Ontario

The Complete List

Secret Lakes of Madawaska Valley

PWC adventures on the other side of the Park

A Hidden Gem in the North

Discover Northern Ontario's Lake of the Woods

Rocking out in Rocktown

Larry Berrio Performs on Sudbury's Lake Wanapitei

A Hidden Powerboating Haven

Two provinces, three cultures, one amazing lake.

Big Welcome in Little Current

A Manitoulin Must-See

The Jewel of Ontario

A beginner's guide to Georgian Bay's North Channel

Not A Boat Race - But Still Hella Fast

Offshore boats, poker, awards, sightseeing & community = the perfect event.

5 Places to Tour with your PWC

From Lake of the Woods to the French River, Northern Ontario is a PWC lover's paradise.

The Top 5 Water Sport Schools in Ontario

Get serious about summer fun.

A Packing Guide for your PWC

Everything you want to have on board for your next ride

Lake of the Woods

An Ontario boating escape near Minnesota

"Come Get Lost. Or Better Yet, Come Get Found"

A Boater's Paradise on Lake of the Woods

Ready for 2018?

A primer for boating in Ontario this summer

The boating season isn't over

Visit these Ontario destinations to catch the spectacular fall colours before it's too late.