With a very long winter finally behind us, people are anxiously getting ready to launch into some boating activities and, unofficially, summer. This year, the County of Annapolis is pleased to be able to offer a program that will promote boat safety and provide a safe option for those who enjoy boating activities.
According to Warden Reg Ritchie, a new loan-out program of PFD’s (Personal Floatation Device) at absolutely no cost is being offered to the public. People can sign out PFDs at both the Municipal Office, Bridgetown (271 Granville St.) and at Raven Haven Beachside Family Park (2239 Virginia Road, West Springhill, Sandy Bottom Lake) when it officially opens in mid-June. “It is initiatives such as this that allows individuals access to the proper resources to engage safely in any boating activity.”
As Debra Ryan, Recreation Manager points out, Annapolis County is well known for its boating opportunities. “We are fortunate to have over 220 lakes and inland waterways to choose from including regions of both the Annapolis River, the Annapolis Basin and the Bay of Fundy for sailing, recreational fishing, canoeing and kayaking, so there are lots of reasons to educate folks about boat safety. We’ll also be having a booth promoting both paddling and boating opportunities in the County during the July 18th River Festival being held at the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Park, hosted by the Clean Annapolis River Project (CARP). We encourage people to stop by and visit us.”
Although statistics show there has been a decline in boating related fatalities there continues to be an average of over 100 boating related deaths annually in Canadian waters, according to CSBC. It is the responsibility of everyone partaking in boating activities to bring those numbers down. Here are five key boating safety messages that need to be delivered:
1. The importance of wearing a lifejacket
2. The dangers associated with drinking and boating
3. The importance of taking a safe boating course
4. Ensuring that you and your vessel are prepared before casting off
5. The risks associated with a fall into cold water
Nancy Chisholm, Recreation & Programs Officer, has recently joined the municipal recreation team and comes with a background in boating safety and sailing. She is a registered instructor to teach the pleasure craft operators course. She is also a Sail Canada Master Learning Facilitator and a Fundamental Course Learning Facilitator.
If you are interested in knowing more about where to launch your pleasure crafts throughout the County, learn about the boat safety training courses being planned in the region or want a copy of boating regulations you can contact Nancy at (902) 665-3022; firstname.lastname@example.org or drop by for a visit at the Municipal Office, Bridgetown.
Shown below is Warden Reg Ritchie and Recreation Manager Debra Ryan holding up some of the PFDs that are available to the public through the County's new free PFD Loan-Out Program.