Most drownings among men 18 to 34 years occur on lakes and
rivers. Swimming remains the leading activity, as it is with
younger age groups, but boating activities become much more
prevalent, including powerboating, fishing and canoeing.
While the proportion of fatalities among 18-34-year-olds
involving these risk factors are similar to earlier years, the
overall reduction in deaths and fewer numbers of fatal incidents
involving these behaviours suggests that some young men entering
this lifestage in the past 10 years are behaving more responsibly.
However, there is much room for further attitude and behavior
modification, especially with regard to wearing lifejackets or PFDs
(personal flotation devices).
Risk-taking behaviours extend into adult years. This includes
the reckless operation of motorized vehicles and the consumption of
alcohol and drugs. Many young men participate in a responsible
manner with their spouses and children, but demonstrate more
reckless behaviour with their male friends. Many seek activities
that involve high-speed craft and do not change their behaviour in
the face of inclement weather and rough water. They are unlikely to
wear safety equipment such as lifejackets.
Male risk-taking behaviour is exhibited in:
Drowning prevention tips
Buy yourself time: wear your lifejacket.
Most drowning victims never intend to get in the water. And
trying to put a lifejacket on just before you capsize is like
trying to buckle a seat belt just before you have a car crash.
Canadian waters are cold most of the time. Heavy gasping,
uncontrollable hyperventilation and cold shock can occur in just
the first minute of entering cold water. If the cold shock doesn't
kill you, time will. But if you're wearing your lifejacket, you'll
float and have a chance to survive a fall into cold water.
If you drink, don't drive your boat.
Ironically, the same people who would never drink and drive
their car will drink and boat.
Be prepared. Get trained.
Coast Guard reports most calls for help are predictable and
preventable non-distress calls; boats broken down, run aground or
out of gas. Have a proper checklist for your boat and review it
before you head out. Make sure that your boat is mechanically sound
and that you have enough gas for your intended trip. File a float
plan to help Search and Rescue find you in the event of a real
All operators of recreational powered craft are required to
obtain a Pleasure Craft Operator Card. This requires passing a
written test demonstrating knowledge of the basics of boating
safety including the rules of the road on the water. The Lifesaving
Operator Accredited Training (BOAT) course teaches all the safe
boating knowledge required to earn the Pleasure Craft Operator
Check the ice before you go on it.
Clear, hard, new ice is the only kind of ice recommended for
travel. Avoid slushy ice, ice on moving water (rivers, currents),
or ice that has thawed and refrozen. Keep away from unfamiliar
paths, unknown ice and avoid travelling on ice at night. Remember,
ice quality and thickness varies across a body of water and both
can change very quickly.
Wear a thermal protection buoyant suit to increase your chance
of survival if you go through.
Dog walkers need to be careful. Year after year, owners drown
trying to rescue their dogs.