Water Safety

Many Nunavummiut enjoy boating. It is fun and a way to connect with the land and hunt for food. It is a good way for elders to pass on traditional knowledge to the next generation.

Safety equipment

It is important to take safety precautions when boating. One of the best ways to reduce the risk of drowning is for everyone in the boat to wear an approved life jacket or personal floatation device (PFD). A Transport Canada approved PFD, lifejacket, or floatation suit are designed to keep an individual afloat in the water.

Things to consider when choosing a floatation device:

  • The Canadian coast guard strongly recommends bright colours for better visibility. 
  • Sizing is based on chest measurements for adults and weight for children—read the label for details.
  • Read the label to make sure the PFD is Transport Canada Approved.

As a part of the GN's Water Smart Project, boaters in 18 communities can sign out floatation suits for free at the following locations:

  • Hunter's and Trapper's Organization (HTO): Arviat, Baker Lake, Clyde River, Grise Fiord, Igloolik, Kigaaruk, Pangnirtung, Pond Inlet, Qikiqtarjuaq, Rankin Inlet, Resolute Bay, and whale Cove
  • Hunter's and Trapper's Association: Hall Beach and Kimmirut
  • Search and Rescue: Chesterfield Inlet and Coral Harbour 
  • Baffin Gas Bar: Iqaluit

Sign out a free tracking device, like a SPOT device, at your hamlet office, wildlife office or HTO.

For more information on minimum safety requirements by boat type and length, please visit: Safe Boating Guide: Safety Tips and Requirements for Pleasure Craft (PDF)

Other Tips for Boating:

  • It is safest not to consume alcohol or drugs while boating.
  • If you are immersed in water and are unable to get your body out of the water, get in the Heat Escape Lessening Position (HELP). The HELP position can increase your survival time by 50%. Cross your arms tightly against your chest and draw your knees up. Remain calm and still, and do not try to swim.
  • Visit the Resources page for a Pre-Boating Checklist.