Written By: Bob McIntyre

As the waterways get busy early in fishing season, Ontario’s Ministry of Natural  Resources and Forestry is emphasizing safety.

Conservation officer Ron Arnold says that means always wearing a personal flotation device – a life jacket.

“Sixty-five percent of persons who drown in our lakes and rivers, it is as a result of not wearing a personal flotation device, depending on what activity it was that they were doing,” Arnold recites.

When the water is as cold as it is right now and your boat tips, sending you into the water, hypothermia can set in quickly.

Arnold outlines the 1-10-1 rule: One minute to get your breathing under control; ten minutes to swim to shore, if you’re close enough and a good enough swimmer…

“And you’ll also have one hour before you will go unconscious,” Arnold states. “ So if you are holding on to your vessel, or a canoe or a kayak or something and you’re not wearing a PFD, eventually you will go unconscious and slip into the water and drown.”

So Arnold sums up by saying if you don’t drown first, the hypothermia will get you and be the reason that you eventually do drown.