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Water safety expert shares tips during National Drowning Prevention Week

WATCH ABOVE: Raynald Hawkins from the Quebec Lifesaving Society joined Global's Andrea Howick to discuss important water safety tips.

National Drowning Prevention week is in full swing as summer vacations are set to begin for many Canadians.

Quebec Lifesaving Society‘s general director Raynald Hawkins joined Global’s Andrea Howick with tips on how to prevent drowning while enjoying summer water activities.

“We have to repeat [drowning preventative tips] because our drowning data is going down year after year,” said Hawkins in relation to drowning statistics logged across the province of Quebec.

“But one drowning is one too much when we know that we can prevent the drownings.”

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Hawkins stated that eight out of 10 drownings happen after a boater who has fallen overboard is either not wearing a life-jacket or wearing it improperly.

READ MORE: Family worried after man falls into Rivière des Prairies while on date

It is important to wear a fastened personal flotation device [PFD] or life-jacket while boating, even for human powered boats, Hawkins said.

When purchasing a PFD or lifejacket, Hawkins recommends you buy a well-fitting life-jacket for you and your child. A PFD or life-jacket is not considered a substitute for adult supervision when it comes to children.

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READ MORE: Body of missing man found in Rivière-des-Prairies

Secondly, ensure weather conditions — including precipitation and wind — are suitable for boating.

“Check weather conditions, a lot of the [boating related] fatalities were during storm conditions,” added Hawkins.

Always check ahead, by at least a few hours, for upcoming weather conditions using resources such as weather.gc.ca or weather.gc.ca/marine and ensure that you have enough time to get off the water before any dangerous weather conditions develop.

Global’s Kim Sullivan was joined by Association Maritime du Québec executive director Alain Roy who shared a third boating safety tip.

WATCH: Association Maritime du Québec executive director Alain Roy joins Global’s Kim Sullivan to talk about recreational boating.

Recreational boating in Canada
Recreational boating in Canada

Over 12 million Canadians, including 43 per cent of Quebecers, will use a boat at some point during the summer for purposes ranging from work to recreation.

And when it comes to alcohol, the same laws apply to operating a boat as driving a car under the Canadian Criminal Code.

“No alcohol. When we’re boating on vacation, we have to not be [under the influence of] alcohol,” said Roy.
“It’s the same rules [as driving a car] on the road.”

Roy advised using resources such as discoverboating.ca and the Association Maritime du Québec for further details about boating and safety.

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“You have to control the accessibility [to your] backyard pool,” said Hawkins.

“And as a parent, you have to supervise your kids all the time.”

READ MORE: Firefighters rescue Laval woman swept away by river current

Always ensure at least one other person is supervising from the safety of the shore or swim in areas that are supervised by a lifeguard on duty.