water safety canadian immigrants
Image: Fil.Al
Canada is a country that is blessed with plenty of places to get out in the great outdoors and enjoy a day on the water. Kayaking, swimming, boating… Enjoying the water is a quintessential part of Canadian life, with some 46 percent of Canadian adults participating in recreational boating activities.
But what if you’re new to Canada and you’re not familiar with the pleasures—and dangers—of being on the water?
The Lifesaving Society is addressing this issue for new Canadian immigrants on its STARTboating website, where new immigrants can learn basic boating and water safety skills in English, French, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hindi and Tagalog.
Interactive videos guide the user through the basic skills needed to safely enjoy a day on the water. It is particularly important because research reveals that new Canadians living in Canada for five years or less are four times more likely to be unable to swim than someone who was born in Canada.
The site also allows users to choose from four vessel types to learn about: canoe, kayak, stand-up paddleboard and small outboard motor boat. They can then learn about what to pack, how to fit a personal flotation device, how to understand maps and markers and how to call for help in an emergency.
In addition to drowning prevention, one of the main goals of the program is to reduce the number and severity of marine search and rescue (SAR) incidents. While boating-related drownings have remained consistent over the past several years, SAR incidents continue to rise.
The Lifesaving Society hopes that education programs like STARTboating will help to prevent SAR incidents and create safe and responsible new boaters, who know how to call for help if it is needed and how to survive while they wait for help to arrive.
Deciding to improve your lifesaving skills can make a huge difference to the health and safety of everyone around you—including new immigrants who are not water-smart. You can spruce up your lifeguard and first aid skills by taking a course at an organization like LIT First Aid and Lifeguard Training.
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