An RCMP member from Hay River is spreading the word this summer about boating safety.
On July 31, Special Constable Jordan Groenewegen spoke to 24 children participating in the Town of Hay River’s Summer Heat program.
That followed the first edition of a South District RCMP boating safety tour along the Mackenzie River.
From July 15 to July 19, Groenewegen with the assistance of local RCMP members visited Fort Providence, Jean Marie River, Fort Simpson and Wrigley aboard the Hay River RCMP jet boat.
During the five-day journey, the RCMP officers spoke about water and boat safety to over 50 people, including children. Lifejackets and boating safety kits were distributed thanks to a donation by the GNWT’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Greenway Realty Ltd.
The RCMP members explained, among other things, how to use a signaling device, the different types of lifejackets and the importance of carrying an emergency kit when going on the water.
“Our presentation was received very positively,” said Groenewegen in a July 24 news release from the RCMP. “We spoke not only of safety on the water, but also around water.”
That included advice like telling the children to let someone know when they are going to play next to the river and to remind elders they also need to wear safety vests.
Groenewegen said the trip along the Mackenzie River was a positive way to engage with local people.
According to a 2014 study from the Canadian Red Cross Society, rates of boating-related fatalities in the NWT are much higher than the national average. Between 1991 and 2010, the average rate of boating fatalities in the NWT was 9.6 per 100,000 people, compared to the Canadian rate of 0.6 per 100,000.