Have you ever leaned way back in a straight chair, balancing on the back two legs, and almost fallen over, catching yourself at the last second? That is the first step leading to the shock factor. That big, and perhaps even half expected action that caused you to gasp in surprise?

Now imagine that you were not expecting it at all… like an accidental fall overboard into the water from your boat or a dock. But you don’t catch yourself and your gasp of surprise is perfectly timed with your entry into the water.

The result is the Shock Factor… an accidental fall overboard causing an uncontrolled gasp when you hit the water that can compromise your ability to swim, or even survive. With that gasp, you could inhale up to 1 litre of water and potentially drown.

In Canada, drowning is the No. 1 cause of unintentional injury deaths among children 1-4 years of age, and the second leading cause of preventable death for children under 10 years. With some 500 fatalities annually, drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional death among Canadians under 60 years of age (surpassed only by motor vehicle collisions and poisoning).

So, what can you do to stay safe while out on your boat? Always wear your lifejacket. Lifejackets are designed to keep you afloat in water. They will automatically turn you into a face-up position, keeping your mouth and nostrils clear of the water to prevent the risk of drowning. This is particularly important if, for any reason, you are unconscious when you fall into the water.

Wearing a lifejacket or PFD can help save your life!