Lifesaving Gear: Your First Line of Defense

Source Creator: Greg Black | Credit: Greg Black Photography

(ORILLIA, ON) – The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is shedding light on road-, off-road- and boating-related fatalities over the last decade for which lifesaving and protective equipment could have saved many lives…had it been worn.

On the water

Between 2012 and 2021, the OPP investigated 238 boating/paddling deaths. Only 35 of those who died were wearing a lifejacket. With more than 40 per cent of the incidents involving a capsized vessel or the victims falling overboard, a significant number of the deceased boaters/paddlers who were not wearing a lifejacket could have been found afloat and alive had they not settled for just having this safety device on board.

For more tips around safety on the water, click here.

Always choose a Canadian approved lifejacket and wear it every time you are out on the water, regardless of whether you are an avid paddler or powerboat enthusiast.


During the same period, 186 people were killed in off-road vehicle incidents. Almost half (86) of the deceased were not wearing a helmet. With losing control a contributing factor in a significant number of the fatalities, the critical protection a helmet provides in a crash, roll-over and when one is ejected from their vehicle could have prevented the loss of life or serious, life-altering head injuries sustained in some of these incidents.

Whether you are riding on roads, trails or your own property, always wear a helmet and make every ride a smart and safe one.

On the road

Of the 3,174 people who have died on OPP-patrolled roads during the past 10 years, choosing to not wear a seatbelt was a contributing factor in 542 of the fatalities.

Collisions that involve unbuckled vehicle occupants almost always result in being ejected from the vehicle and death. Had seatbelts been worn in these crashes, the number of deaths could have been far lower.

Make buckling up a three-second habit for you and your passengers every time you hit the road and ensure your toddler or small child is properly secured in the right car/booster seat.

Before and during the Canada Day long weekend, OPP officers will be ramping up enforcement and education regarding the presence and use of lifesaving equipment to help ensure Ontarians travel safely on and off the road. As summer has arrived, the OPP is counting on everyone to comply with all traffic, off-road and marine laws. Doing so will go a long way toward reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries on roads, waterways and trails.

Further safety tips can be accessed by going to the OPP’s website.


The OPP patrols approximately 100,000 square kilometres of waterways, a vast trail network and over 130,000 kilometres of roadways, including North America’s busiest transportation corridor, Highway 401.


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