Sutcliffe: Vanity, pride no reason to shun a lifejacket

Ottawa Citizen

I recently asked a friend why he didn’t wear a lifejacket while he was boating at the cottage.

“Because I can swim,” he said.

Sadly, that’s exactly what countless drowning victims would have said if you’d asked them the same question when they set off from the dock. Earlier this month, for example, two men in their 20s and a three-year-old boy fell out of a boat north of Kingston. The two didn’t have lifejackets but the boy was wearing some type of floatation device. They drowned; he survived.

There are dozens of similar deaths every year, and yet a huge number of adults still won’t wear lifejackets this weekend and throughout the summer while travelling in kayaks, canoes and speedboats.

Like them, I used to think that lifejackets were superfluous, but two experiences have converted me. The first was about 10 years ago when I started training for a…

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