April 2023
CSBC Newsletter - April 2023
In This Issue

  • Message from the Chair
  • AGM Notice
  • Safe Boating Awareness Week 2023
  • Weather to Boat
  • CSBC Poster Campaign and Outreach Resources for Summer 2023
  • The Shock Factor
  • CSBC Membership Reminder
  • CSBC Symposium St. John’s
  • Transport Canada Consultation on Engine Cut-off Switches
  • In Brief 
Message from the Chair
Hello everyone and welcome to our 2023 boating season which will have already started in some parts of Canada.

Back in January at the time of our last Board meeting Transport Canada issued a limited preliminary consultation to recreational boating stakeholder groups. I note that this was a preliminary consultation, was somewhat confidential to those groups and was not to be distributed throughout the various group memberships and the media.

At the Board meeting we discussed the issue and the Board charged the Executive with responding to TC’s consultation document, which was comprised of a number of questions which were very limited in scope.

I will not go into the CSBC’s response to the questions, again because of the confidential nature at the time of this writing.

However, I will outline the background that we used to make the presentation. It is as follows:

Preliminary Consultation for the Mandatory Wear of PFDs/Lifejackets


In the report prepared for the Boating Safety Contribution Program, Transport Canada, by the Drowning Prevention Research Centre, Canada: Recreational Boating-Related Fatalities in Canada, 2008-2017, there were 956 recreational boating fatalities – an average of 100 per year. Each death represents a tragic loss for the friends and family members left behind. This boating fatality report revealed that of those cases where it was known if a lifejacket was present in the vessel, 86% of the victims were either not wearing a lifejacket or wore it improperly. This represents 856 recreational boating fatalities. Importantly, the wear-rate of lifejackets/PFDs, particularly amongst adults is very low. Most, if not all, of these deaths can be prevented, through regulatory change. 

The Canadian Safe Boating Council appreciated the opportunity to respond to the request for feedback on proposed criteria for mandatory wear of lifejackets and PFDs.

The response was based on the analysis of evidence from 3 data sources as cited by the Lifesaving Society in its own response on this issue:

  1. Recreational Boating-Related Fatalities in Canada, 2008-2017. Prepared for The Boating Safety Contribution Program, Transport Canada by the Drowning Prevention Research Centre Canada (DPRC).
  2. Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) – Research that Floats: Lifejacket Research and Communication Effectiveness Results Summer 2021. Presented at the Standing Committee on Recreational Boating, CMAC, May 2022.
  3. Mandatory Wear of PFDs/Lifejackets Summer 2021 Observation Results Presentation- Standing Committee on Recreational Boating, CMAC, May 2022
Summary of Key Findings from the Data Sources

A. From Boating Fatality Data
  • Deaths primarily occurred among adults - 91% amongst adults 20+ years.
  • Most deaths occurred amongst those in vessels under 6 metres in size (88%), however 12% occurred in vessels over 6 meters in length.
  • Most boating fatalities occurred in powered vessels (55%), however a significant number occurred in unpowered vessels (45%).
  • Most boating fatalities occurred in powered vessels under 5.5 metres, followed by canoes, 33% and 30% respectively (2008-2017 fatalities amongst those where the size of the vessel was known).

B. From Wear-rate studies (CSBC and TC)
  • The wear rates in general were consistent in both studies.
  • Vessel type (motorized, PWC etc.) has a significant impact on boaters’ likelihood of wearing a PFD/lifejacket.
  • PWCs had the highest wear rate (94-98%)
  • Motorized boats had the lowest wear rates (18-25%)
  • Wear rates decreased as vessel size increased
  • Age is a significant factor in the wearing of lifejackets/PFDs
  • Children have a very high wear rate in both studies (for 6–12-year-olds 75% in CSBC study and 75% in TC study).
  • Teens’ wear rate is over 50% in both studies (50% in CSBC study and 60% in TC study)
  • Wear rate for adults is low (CSBC study - 18% and 29% in TC study) and in particular for seniors (11% in CSBC study).

Canadian Safe Boating Council recommendations re policy approach
Before addressing the specific factors on which our responses to Transport Canada’s criteria are based, the CSBC recommends the following over-arching principles to guide a national regulatory regime on lifejacket wear:

  • Evidence-based: the regulations should be based on solid evidence from research and studies (vs. opinion surveys and perceptions and special interest lobbying)
  • Safety materiality: ensure the areas of highest risk are covered, e.g.
  • vessel type and size with the greatest number of boating fatalities age groups where the drowning fatalities are highest and the wear rate is lowest
  • include (but do not limit regulatory change to) vulnerable age groups (e.g. children).
  • Simplicity: to facilitate compliance, make the regulatory requirements easy to understand (for boaters - including increasing numbers of new boaters - making wearing decisions, and reinforcing peer pressure from observers)
  • Ease of enforcement: given the large numbers of boaters and limited on-water enforcement resources, make the regulations easy to enforce (e.g. visible wearing vs. carriage, need to guess age). Reference: Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police Resolution 2002-03, Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police Resolution 2022-02.
  • Use this regulatory change initiative as an opportunity to lead to the “normalization” of lifejacket wearing – i.e. something that is automatically done, such as wearing a seatbelt
  • Avoid a “specific occasion” focus such as just the skipper, or just in the shoulder seasons (with colder water), or by type of vessel, which could encourage a “specific situation” focus and is counter to a “normalization” focus.

These were the guiding principles for our response to Transport Canada.

In closing I am sure that we will all watch the continuing discussions on Mandatory PFD and Lifejacket Wear bearing in mind the constant that PFDs and Lifejackets do not work unless you are wearing them.

Meanwhile, I wish you all a safe and enjoyable boating season,

AGM Notice to all CSBC Members
In accordance with the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (Section 159.4), the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) will hold its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in-person on Wednesday, May 24, 2023 at 1:00 P.M at the Courtyard Toronto Airport Hotel, 231 Carlingview Drive, Toronto ON . For those who have attended in the past, this is the same hotel that we used in 2018 and 2019. A bus shuttle to the hotel from the Pearson airport is available.

The meeting is open to all interested persons, but voting will be restricted to current CSBC members.

The meeting will cover a number of subjects, including a report on the CSBC's current programs, our response to Transport Canada’s recent consultation on mandatory lifejacket/PFD wear, as well as the election of the Board of Directors and Officers for 2023/24. Come and spend an hour or so with us to hear about the great progress that we have made in promoting boating safety and to renew acquaintances with others like yourself who support our goals.

Please note this is an in-person event only.


Dated in Ottawa, Ontario, this 17th day of April, 2023.

Ron Kroeker
CSBC Secretary
Safe Boating Awareness Week May 20 – 26, 2023
Caption: Sergeants Kerry Schmidt and David Moffatt of the Ontario Provincial Police at SBAW 2022
For 2023, Safe Boating Awareness Week (SBAW) will capitalize on social media opportunities to effectively reach out to all boaters across Canada and provide materials to partner stakeholders for in-person participation at local levels.

Our key boating safety messages continue to be:

  • Wear Your Lifejacket
  • Boat Sober
  • Take a Boating Course
  • Be Prepared—You and Your Vessel
  • Be Cold Water Safe

The focus of the CSBC’s national SBAW outreach activities will be a stand-alone mini-information web site, offering a variety of materials (to either copy, repost or download) providing you, SBAW advocates, with plenty of information to share with your own constituents and conduct your own media outreach. CSBC’s outreach will also include an introduction to regional boating safety spokespeople. The spokespeople will be you … representatives from boating safety organizations, enforcement, and government agencies … all key boating safety partners.

This SBAW regional approach is partnership-focused, supporting CSBC’s members, boating safety agencies, associations and individuals who want to conduct their own activities.

If your organization is interested in participating with us in the CSBC SBAW activities or our other CSBC campaigns throughout the entire summer, we would love to hear from you. Please contact John McMullen at john.mcmullen@teksavvy.com to explore opportunities.
Weather to Boat
Weather to Boat is a dynamic, powerful boating App created to help save lives! The app keeps users prepared by providing current weather and up to date forecasts. The programming provides local “city” weather conditions, forecasts for the entire country, and where available, up-to-date marine weather information for the users’ specific boating area. Powered by Environment and Climate Change Canada, the App is presented in both French and English and includes maps, buoy station readings, marine weather warnings and alerts.
The CSBC’s Weather to Boat App was designed to go beyond weather and provide great boating information on equipment, and safety as well. Some of the information features include Rules of the Road – a great resource to help everyone avoid collisions on the water. Another is legally required safety equipment presented for the user’s particular vessel. along with pre-departure checklists.
A main feature of the Weather to Boat App is the interactive Trip Plan. This feature files an electronic trip/sail plan with automatic emergency contact alerting. Additional features include aids to navigation and what they mean, lifejacket and PFD information, anchoring tips, navigation lights, fishing regulations, tides, refueling and fuel safety information, cold water awareness, and the list of valuable information goes on. Weather to Boat even has a Kids Zone with electronic games to keep children entertained out on the water – while learning boating safety. There is also a comprehensive, geo-referenced list of marinas and boat launches with details of the facilities they can provide along with contact information. This is invaluable for pre-trip planning or as an on-water reference guide.
Unsure whether to boat? Download the Weather to Boat app today to help keep you safe on the water! And it’s FREE!
The Weather to Boat app is developed and promoted by the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC), a registered charity, with support from its members, partners, Environment and Climate Change Canada and funded through the Search and Rescue New Initiatives Fund (SAR NIF), Public Safety Canada. Visit www.weathertoboat.ca to learn more. 
It’s that time of year again… when most boaters are starting to prepare to get back out on the water. And this is also a great time for boating safety advocates to start planning their own local or national boating safety outreach initiatives. www.enjoyboating.ca can help you do just that with many FREE resources available for downloading and sharing.  
The CSBC’s Enjoy Boating is a boating safety resource repository that provides a wide variety of boating safety outreach messages and tips, many using Augmented Reality. The centerpiece of Enjoy Boating is the Within Reach Might Not Be Close Enough lifejacket safety messaging.  The campaign was well researched, launched nationally and measured locally in 2022. It was a bold message to encourage lifejacket wear, has scored high in effectiveness and has been well supported by the boating industry. 
To support YOUR outreach, enjoyboating.ca is a complete online toolbox that contains more than the Within Reach campaign. It includes four others using a variety of augmented reality and delivered using social media images, pre-created posts, and digital downloads for use with online campaigns as well as high resolution downloadables for any printing you might want to do yourself. Messaging includes key boating safety topics such as Boat Sober, Cold Water Awareness and tips for Night Boating.
As a side note, print materials are also available from the CSBC free of charge upon request while supplies last (shipping extra).
Check out enjoyboating.ca for any ideas to support your own campaign. With your help we are able to work together to get out important messages to many of the 13+ million boaters in Canada to help make boating safe and enjoyable for all of us.
The Shock Factor
Over the years the CSBC has done an incredible job informing the boating public about the risks associated with accidental immersion in cold water. However, even in warmer water, boaters who are good swimmers continue to drown after an accidental fall overboard.  That is why the CSBC created The Shock Factor. It is a 3-year national prevention program supported by Public Safety Canada’s New SAR Initiatives funding. The project was developed to reduce the incidence of drowning (and often the resulting need for Search and Rescue), by proving to Canadian boaters that they can drown more easily than they think during an accidental immersion. This knowledge is aimed at increasing lifejacket wear, and saving lives.
This past winter, the CSBC put over 40 boaters through a series of experiences, both virtual and live action, that simulated an accidental immersion. These experiences were created in partnership with Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht, PhD (University of Manitoba), the “Cold Water Guy”. The boaters’ physical and physiological reactions to these experiences were observed and measured to better understand what does happen during the surprise of a fall overboard. We are in the process of reviewing and tabulating the research results and creating outreach materials to share the findings. These results will help to ensure that boaters are more aware of the risks of accidental immersion in water of any temperature.
The www.shockfactor.ca website will be available shortly and you can bet it will be educational, informative and even a bit entertaining! Visitors will be shown how the surprise of any accidental fall overboard could result in drowning, and be provided with educational material to help teach how to best to prepare for this type of unexpected situation.
Here is where readers of the CSBC newsletter can help. Many boaters have experienced a bad but survivable situation with an accidental fall overboard. If you have a story to tell, we want to hear it and share it. Have you or has someone you know had an accidental immersion? Was it in cold water or warm water? What was your attitude towards lifejacket wear before your experience? Has it changed your perspective about it after? Sharing is learning, and by creating a community of interest we can help fellow boaters across Canada learn through other’s stories, and further our efforts in making our waterways safer and more enjoyable! Please send your stories to cheryl@playsafeproductions.com.
CSBC Membership Reminder
If you have not already done so, please renew your membership now.

In January we sent membership renewal notices to all our welcome supporters. Our sincere thanks to those who were quick to renew.  As the boater population continues to grow, the CSBC’s motto – Helping you stay safe on the water - is every bit as important. We need your support. Please take a moment to renew your CSBC membership by going to https://csbc.ca/en/about-us/membership.
CSBC Symposium St. John’s, September 26-28. 2023
Canadian Safe Boating Council symposiums are known for offering valuable insights to challenges in recreational boating safety – and equally important, the excellent opportunity to network with like-minded individuals. The 2023 symposium, to be held in historic St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, will be no exception. Following the theme of Working Together – Today’s Challenges and Tomorrow’s Solutions, the comprehensive program is made up of qualified presenters from Atlantic Canada and elsewhere in Canada, as well as international speakers. Throughout the symposium, we will explore the challenges which we face, our mutual interests, and how, pulling together, we can navigate our way to potential solutions.

Regulations relating to wearing of lifejackets are a hot topic these days, as Transport Canada is consulting on future options. Views are passionate, and vary widely. But there’s more to consider than potential wear regulations. At the St. John’s Symposium the CSBC is planning a special Lifejacket Forum to explore lifejacket issues much more broadly:

  • What does the data show about where the risks are? What are the findings from the latest research by the CSBC and Transport Canada about actual lifejacket wear?
  • What do we know from previous CSBC research about the reasons people do or don’t wear lifejackets, and how can we use this information to run effective boating safety campaigns?
  • What about the lifejackets themselves - learn about the importance of fit and maintenance, and how Canadian and U.S. lifejacket standards are being harmonized.
  • Today’s lifejackets are not the lifejackets you grew up with - what products are now available to suit you and your boating activity?
Echoing the Working Together theme of this year’s symposium, join us and share your thoughts and the insights of our speakers from various areas in our Lifejacket Forum!

More details to follow, in the newsletter and on our website www.csbc.ca.
Transport Canada Consultation on Engine Cut-off Switches
A Let’s Talk Transportation consultation on proposed requirements for engine cut-off switches on certain small vessels has officially launched.

The consultation is available until May 19, 2023 and can be accessed at this link. This consultation also includes a survey that can be accessed at the link.

Should you have any further questions or concerns, please direct them to MSSRegulations-ReglementsSSM@tc.gc.ca
In Brief
Riley can't wait for boating season!