Staying safe on Okanagan Lake

We are now into full swing summer and enjoying the many water opportunities that are available in the Okanagan.

We are now into full swing summer and enjoying the many water opportunities that are available in the Okanagan.

Many people spend countless hours at the beach or in their boats trying to keep cool.

Boating safety is a must and this is a reminder to be wearing your life jackets or personal floatation devices.

One of the knowledge skills taught during Red Cross Swim lessons is how to identify the difference between a personal flotation device and a life jacket.

There are three types of floatation devices: life jackets (available in youth and adult sizes: when worn properly will turn an unconscious person onto his or her back), PFDs (more comfortable than life jackets and come in child sizes) and inflatable PFDs (approved if you are 16 years or older and weigh more than 36 kg: must be worn at all times).

A Canadian-approved floatation device has a stamp or label that tells you it is approved by either the Department of Transport or the Canadian Coast Guard. If you change or repair a floatation device in any way, it is no longer approved.

A PFD is designed to keep you afloat in the water. It will also help reduce the symptoms of hypothermia. PFDs are available in a variety of colours and styles.

In order for it to work, all buckles, zippers and ties must be fastened and adjusted properly.

Whistles should be attached to your PFD or life jacket.

So now do you know the difference between a life jacket and PFD?

The life jacket if worn properly will turn an unconscious person onto his/her back.

Remember to keep safe when on and in the water and plan ahead.

Happy Okanagan summer.

Brenda Ingram is the Programs and Facility Manager for the District of Summerland and proud to be a long-time resident of this great community.