August 14, 2014 5:30 pm

Should life-jackets be mandatory? What experts say

CALGARY- A recent drowning at Sikome Lake in southeast Calgary has some wondering if life-jackets should be mandatory for anyone heading out on a boat.

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While PFDs are currently not required on public manmade lakes like Sikome, they are mandatory on many of the city’s private community lakes such as Lake Bonavista. On Sundance Lake, even those heading into the water on air mattresses and inner tubes must wear a lifejacket.

The Lifesaving Society of Alberta says education is important, and thinks tougher rules could prevent more drownings.

“When it comes to federal legislation and provincial/territorial legislation, we know we’ve got jurisdictional challenges,” says Barbara Costache. “So it would take a collaborative effort.

“But the research states life-jackets save lives, and it certainly would be something of value to pursue.”

Most drowning victims in Alberta are young men, and over a third of them weren’t wearing a life-jacket at the time.

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