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Canadian Safe Boating Council

Best Boating Safety Initiative - 2011

CASBA 2011 Award Winner: The Lifesaving Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories

- Borrow a Personal Flotation Device: It May Save Your Life! -

Hats off to the Lifesaving Society Alberta and the Northwest Territories for the Ontario Power Generation Best Boating Safety Initiative in 2011!

In an effort to help Albertans better prepare to hit the water, the Lifesaving Society expanded its innovative Lifejacket Loaner Station Program to seven provincial parks across the province after a very successful pilot in 2010.

The ‘Kids Don’t Float!’ program involves three key components: equipment, education, and enforcement. The Society has established unstaffed kiosks at Carson-Pegasus, Crimson Lake, Ghost Reservoir, Gregoire Lake, Pigeon Lake, Touchwood Lake campground at Lakeland Provincial recreation area, and Young’s Point provincial parks. Folks in need of a lifejacket are encouraged to sign one out at the kiosk, and the honour system for returning them has had near-perfect rates of return.

The kiosks are themselves a visible reminder to water enthusiasts to think PFD when they arrive.

As for education, orientation sessions are given to local park staff by the Lifesaving Society to help them provide visitors with important educational materials (like how to boat safely, important gear to have onboard a boat, and regulations about piloting), and to demonstrate the proper use of a lifejacket.

And, lastly, the Society’s ‘Get Caught’ enforcement campaign rewards those caught wearing their PFD properly with flashlight key chains! Positive ticketing is a public education approach that is catching on everywhere: rewarding folks for doing the right thing, and doing it right, is a great way to build relationships and trust, and let kids know that being safe is cool! In fact, some 700 boaters were rewarded with the key chains through the program in 2011.

Kudos to the Lifesaving Society Alberta and Northwest Territories for bringing public education and the gear where water enthusiasts need them: waterside!

"One of the seven self-serve lifejacket loaner Kiosks throughout the province of Alberta."