Pick any day of the week and you will find someone or a host of people lined up to drop a line in this province.
Fishing or troutin’ is a popular activity for anglers throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.
Ensuring those fishermen are safe during those outings is paramount and the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) is encouraging all anglers to use the utmost safety during this fishing season.
During the week of June 30 to July 8, the CSBC will host its annual Hooked on Lifejackets campaign to run in conjunction with National Fishing Week.
Hooked on Lifejackets will focus on promoting basic safe boating behaviors and one that has the greatest potential to save lives: wearing a lifejacket.
The CSBC says the majority of victims in these tragic accidents are males ranging in age from 19 to 35.
”Fishing is a part of our Canadian fabric and an activity that’s easy to get hooked on,” John Gullick, chair of the CSBC said in a news release Tuesday.
“All boating season long, the CSBC is asking those who fish to ‘Get Hooked on Lifejackets too,” he added.
Anyone wanting to take part in the program … and drop a line or two in the more than million lakes, streams, waterways and fishing holes across this province will be able to do so without a fishing license over a three-week period that bookends National Fishing Week.
“National surveys clearly show that more than half the recreational boats sold in Canada are used for fishing on a regular basis,” Gullick said.
“During National Fishing Week, the Canadian Safe Boating Council would like to remind all anglers not only to have their lifejacket onboard their boat, but to wear it as if their life depended on it — because it just might!,” he added.
A variety of boating safety tips
The myth still exists, despite countless unnecessary accidents that if you are a good swimmer you don’t need a life jacket.
But accidents, the majority of them unexpected, are when you need a lifejacket or Personal Floatation Device (PFD) the most.
“It’s not enough to just have a lifejacket on board your boat or with your gear. Putting on a lifejacket when you need it is like putting on a seatbelt in a car crash,” Angela Johnson, training programs manager at Lifesaving Society New-Brunswick said in the release.
“Unless you are wearing it in the first place it will not be able to help you when you need it,” she added.
Wearing a lifejacket is not as cumbersome as it once was as they have been streamlined through years of testing and development and are designed now for specific needs of individuals who employ them.
These lifejackets are rugged, allow for full freedom of movement to cast and are constructed with lots of pockets for gear. Some even come equipped with an attachment from which to hang a landing net. When choosing their lifejacket, anglers should also check the label to make sure it is Transport Canada approved, is the correct size and fits snugly.
Today, many anglers choose to wear an inflatable lifejacket because they are cool, fully adjustable and provide for full arm motion. These are available in both manual and auto-inflate models which make them extremely versatile.
The law says these must be worn to be legal, rather than just be kept in the boat. Also, they are only legal where the wearer is 16 years of age or older.