May 20th is the National Lifejacket Day!

Remember to wear your lifejacket or PFD and have fun out there on the water!

In the meantime, we’ll continue to advocate to make lifejackets/PFDs mandatory for kids in recreational boating.

Let’s honour National Lifejacket Day, the Red Cross’ annual campaign to encourage and promote the use of lifejackets and PFDs among boaters with a summary of the case in favour of this regulatory change.

  • Boating accounts for more than one-third of immersion/drowning deaths in Canada and has been the most frequent activity among 10,000 immersion/drowning deaths during the past two decades. 
  • Unintentional and preventable injuries are the number one threat to children’s health. Drowning consistently ranks in the top 3 of child accidental deaths.
  • Canada is behind the United States and other Western jurisdictions that have made life jackets/PFDs mandatory for children, and in some cases for all ages.
  • The Lifesaving Society Canada has reported that the number one reason for boating related fatalities in 2019, in all age groups other than 0-4 was not wearing a PFD.
  • Canada recently committed under the United Nations Resolution on Global Drowning Prevention to: Ensure enactment and effective enforcement of water safety laws, across all relevant sectors, in particular in the areas of health, education, transportation and disaster risk reduction, where appropriate, and consider establishing appropriate and proportionate regulations where they do not yet exist.”
  • This regulatory change has political support.
  • The change also has the support of drowning prevention organizations, the Canadian Safe Boating Council; marine insurers; the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario; the Insurance Bureau of Canada; and child safety advocates.
  • Thousands of Canadians have signed petitions to the Minister of Transport. 
  • A strong majority of boaters are in favour of some lifejacket legislation (85%-89% depending on boat type).

Help us continue our work to keep Canada’s kids safe on our waterways. Sign our petition or write to your MP.

Before you go out on the water, review the Red Cross’ Tips on Lifejacket Wear and Boating Safety.

Change the law. Save a Life.


(1) The Canadian Red Cross &The Cooke-Rees Memorial Fund “The Floatation Report, Lifejackets/Personal Floatation Devices and Boating Fatalities in Canada, 20 years of Research, 1991-2010 at p. 7;
(2) Children First Canada, University of Calgary O’Brien Institute for Public Health and Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute; Raising Canada; Top Ten Threats to Childhood;
(3) Yanchar, Natalie L.;  Warda, Lynne J.; Fuselli, Pamela; Child and Youth Injury Prevention, A Public Health Approach, Canadian Paediatric Society, Injury Prevention Committee at p.2.
(4) See: and Did you know other countries have made lifejackets mandatory?
(5) Drowning Prevention Research Centre, Canada, Canadian Drowning Report, prepared for the Lifesaving Society, 2019 edition at p. 10.
(6) United Nations General Assembly, 75/273 Global Drowning Prevention; Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 28 April 2021.
(7) see :MP-Pierre-Poilievre-Supports-Effort-to-Make-Lifejackets-Mandatory-for-Kids/
(8) See: Canadian-Drowning-Prevention-Coalition-Recommends-Mandatory-Lifejackets-PFDs-for-Kids; Ottawa Drowning Prevention Coalition Supports Life Jackets for Life; The Lifesaving Society Canada is on BoardReliance Insurance Agencies is on Board; Safe Harbour Insurance Services in on Board; Pacific Marine Underwriting Managers is on Board; The Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario is on Board; The Canadian Drowning Prevention Coalition is on Board.
(9) We Have Signatures from Coast to Coast; Make Lifejackets/PFDs Mandatory in Canada for Children in Small Vessels
(10) Ipsos Reid Market Quest; Canadian Boating Safety: Report, Date: November 7th, 2014; commissioned by the Canadian Safe Boating Council; see: