We’ve all heard the slogan “lifejackets save lives”, but how many of us bother to put one on before participating in water sports and paddling? Sadly, the latest statistics show that 161 Canadians drown while boating. Of these, 87 per cent are not wearing a lifejacket or do not have it properly secured.

On Thursday, May 17, 2018, the Canadian Red Cross marks National Lifejacket Day. Part of an annual campaign to encourage and promote the use of lifejackets and PFDs among boaters, lifejacket day is also an opportunity to remind families that PDFS can help children be safe and visible at the beach or in the backyard pool or hot tub.

Modern day lifejackets are designed for children, men and women. Long gone are the days of stiff, uncomfortable and bulky PDFS. Instead, many new models boast quick drying materials, perfect for ensuring little ones can still have fun in the sun. Adjustment straps have become the norm, offering water lovers of all shapes and sizes with a secure, customized fit. Remember those gross moldy, mildew lifejackets you may have had to use at a cottage? Thanks to innovative materials, most lifejackets are now manufactured from anti-mildew high buoyancy foam. And yes, there are many companies making womens-specific models at afforable prices.

This year on National Lifejacket Day, consider heading out to your favourite outfitter. Take the time to try on the various models or inquire about the availability of PDFS rentals. Get to know what features you like (and dislike) before making your purchase. Then hit the water with confidence, knowing you have an essential piece of water safety equipment.