As it stands, the law doesn’t require minors to wear a life jacket, only that there’s an equal number of life jackets to the number of people on a watercraft. An organization called Life Jackets for Life is trying to change that, collecting 10,000 signatures to lobby the Minister of Transport to have the law changed and require minors to wear a life jacket.
This suggested change would be comparable to Ontario’s law requiring minors to wear bicycle helmets, which has demonstrably raised the rate of helmet ownership and usage and decreased head injuries, hospitalizations and deaths. Comparably, wearing a life jacket is the most effective way to prevent boating–related drownings. Similar legislation in Australia and the US has shown major increases in life jacket usage.
“As an insurance professional, it makes sense to get behind this cause,” said Suzanne Pountney, Territory 6 Director. “We’re in the business of protecting our clients and their families. We can replace their possessions when they experience a loss, but we can’t replace a life. If it’s possible to save that life, we should get behind regulations that will help.”