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Be ready for the new boating season

With another summer just around the corner and many heading out to the water this October long weekend, please use personal flotation devices (life jackets) for a safe and enjoyable time on the water.

The October long weekend traditionally marks the start of the boating season. Everyone looks forward to getting out on the water after a long winter, but I would urge caution and preparation before embarking.

To avoid tragedy on our coastline and along the River Murray, a personal flotation device (PFD), otherwise known as a life jacket, is the season’s must have safety accessory.

National statistics prove their life saving value. Of nearly 500 people who drowned in the last 18 years, only 1 in 10 people was wearing a PFD.

Making sure you have the right personal flotation device  should be your number one priority when planning any aquatic getaway over the long weekend and into the summer months.

There is so much fun to be had on our waterways, but fun can turn to tragedy so quickly if people aren’t properly equipped.

A correctly-fitting PFD must be worn at all times by anyone in a canoe, kayak, sailboard or similar small unpowered vessel, when kite surfing or operating a personal watercraft, as well as anyone engaged in skiing behind a vessel.

PFD’s should be readily accessible and fitted before people engage in activities on the water with forward planning crucial in helping to save lives.

While every person on board a vessel must have access to a PFD, please pay special to the safety of children on the water.

We recommend that children wear a PFD when they are in any open area of a vessel. It is critically important it is fitted correctly so that the child cannot slip out of it when in the water.