The Ontario government is one step closer to making life jackets mandatory for children 12 and under in recreational boating.
The Lifejackets for Life Act, a Private Member’s Bill, introduced by PC MPP Norman Miller of Parry Sound-Muskoka is currently in its second reading. It sailed through debate with the support of all parties.
This proposed legislation comes on the heels of a recent study released by The Drowning Prevention Research Centre, Recreational Boating-Related Fatalities in Canada, 2008-2017. That study found that that 21% of all unintentional water related fatalities in Canada were recreational boating-related. In 80% of those fatalities a lifejacket or PFD was not worn at the time of the incident (where personal flotation device information was known).
The Act requires parents and guardians to ensure that their children wear a personal flotation device or lifejacket “while on a pleasure boat that is underway or while being towed behind a pleasure boat using recreational water equipment. If the child is not under the supervision of the parent or guardian but is under the supervision of a person who is 18 years of age or older at the relevant time, the requirement applies instead to that person. The requirement does not apply if the child is in an enclosed cabin.”
A pleasure boat is defined as “a ship or boat or any other description of a vessel” which is “used exclusively for pleasure and does not carry passengers on it for remuneration and is “is nine metres in length or shorter.”
The penalty for not complying could result in a fine of not more than $200.
We applaud MPP Norman Miller and all who support this ground-breaking Provincial legislation. If passed, it will undoubtedly save young lives.
To support the Life Jackets for Life Act, find your MPP and express your support.
Change the Law. Save a Life.