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Of 10 boating related deaths none was wearing a life jacket

PEC OPP Constable Kim Guthrie at the “Life Jacket Zone” with program supporters Bill Edwards, chairman of the Prince Edward Corrections Board; Cindy Kirkpatrick, public health nurse and Kerry Cole, executive director with the corrections board.

The minute it takes to put on a life jacket could save a lifetime of wishing you did.

Prince Edward OPP and the Hastings and Prince Edward Counties Health Unit have partnered on two public awareness programs to promote safety and prevent drowning deaths this summer.

“Every year, tragic and preventable water-related deaths occur across the province,” said Prince Edward OPP Constable Kim Guthrie. ” According to the Lifesaving Society, 48 people have drowned in Ontario between January 1st and July 9th.  Ten of those deaths were boating related and none was wearing a life jacket.”

Drowning incidents, says Cindy Kirkpatrick, public health nurse, are largely preventable and wearing a life jacket is a step in the right direction.

“Our general messages are wear you life jacket; learn CPR, take swimming lessons, don’t drink when boating, observe posted water conditions and enclose pools with a four-sided fence.”

“Life Jacket Zone” signs have been erected at several public boat launches in the County as a visual reminder for those around the ramps, docks and boats to wear their life jackets at all times.

“At any time, unexpected incidents such as tripping, slipping or unintentional contact while around boats may result in injury and death if a person finds themselves suddenly in the water,” says Guthrie. “I remember my stepdaughter, as a toddler, slipped  at a launch and it was a good thing an adult was near by to pull her out.”

Funding for the signs was shared by Prince Edward OPP and the Hastings and Prince Edward Counties Health Unit.

The return the five-year-old “I got caught by the OPP wearing my PFD” T-shirt program means 62 bright orange shirts will be carried on board of the OPP Marine Patrol Vessel this summer.  Officers will reward boaters with a t-shirt when they are found wearing their life jackets and PFDs appropriately.
Funding for the t-shirts was shared by Prince Edward Corrections Advisory Board and the Hastings and Prince Edward Counties Health Unit.  Prince Edward Embroidery provided the screening service for the shirts.

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