Be Boat Smart and Water Wise

Be Boat Smart and Water Wise

The majority of boaters who drowned were not wearing, or properly wearing, life-jackets or flotation suits.


  • Always ensure that everyone going boating wears an approved flotation suit or life-jacket. 
  • A flotation suit or life-jacket is designed to keep you afloat in the water and for use in recreational boating.

Boating safety equipment 

In addition to flotation suit or life-jacket, ensure that you carry along the following items when you go boating:

  • buoyant heaving line at least 15 metres in length;
  • watertight flashlight or Canadian approved flares;
  • sound-signalling device;
  • manual propelling device (i.e. paddle) or an anchor with at least 15 metres of rope, chain or cable;
  • bailer or manual water pump; and
  • class 5 BC fire extinguisher.


Where to get a floatation suit

Floatation suits are a part of the Water Smart Project and are provided in 18 communities. 

Floatation suits are FREE to use and are available for lending at local Hunters and Trappers Organization, Hunters and Trappers Association, or Search and Rescue teams.

  • Hunters and Trappers Organization in Arviat, Baker Lake, Clyde River, Grise Fiord, Iglookik, Kugaaruk, Kugluktuk, Pangnirtung, Pond Inlet, Qikiqtarjuaq, Rankin Inlet, Resolute Bay, Whale Cove.
  • Hunters and Trappers Association: Hall Beach, Kimmirut.
  • Search and Rescue: Chesterfield Inlet, Coral Harbour.
  • Baffin Gas Bar in Iqaluit.  


The following items should be carried for everyone on board: marine first aid kit, drinking water, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, dry clothing, snacks and waterproof matches.



• Alcohol is the number one cause of boating accidents and drowning.

• There is no safe way to mix alcohol or drugs with boating.

Boat Smart... Boat Sober!

• Alcohol reduces your ability to do what is right, and at the right time.

• Alcohol reduces your ability to see clearly and act fast when you need to do so.


Be responsible

• Don't allow a person who has consumed alcohol to operate a boat.

• Provide non-alcoholic beverages for everyone.

• Check the weather and water conditions.

Plan ahead!


Ice safety

If you go onto the ice, wear a flotation suit and carry a long pole to test the ice in front

of you. Bring something to reach or throw to a person (e.g. pole, weighted rope or line)

in case of trouble.

Ice colour

  • The colour of the ice may be an indication of its strength.
  • Clear blue ice is strongest.
  • White opaque or snow ice is half as strong as blue ice.
  • Grey ice is unsafe. The grayness indicates the presence of water. 

If you get in trouble while on ice

  • Call for help.
  • Do not attempt to stand up or climb back out where you fell in. The ice is weak in this area.
  • Maintain a floating position, crawl on your stomach or roll away from the open area with your arms and legs spread out as far as possible to evenly distribute your body weight.
  • Do not stand up! Look for shore and crawl out in the right direction.
  • Remember you must always wear a flotation device to reduce the risk of lowering your body temperature to a dangerous level.

Supervising children

The absence of adult supervision is a factor for most cases of child drowning. Always watch children around water – even if they can swim.