A situation on the river last weekend highlights the importance of boating safety.
Two men, a woman and 13-month-old took their new boat out for the first time and began to take on water nearly immediately.
According to RCMP, the new owner acknowledged he was unprepared for the swiftness of the South Thompson River and the situation "quickly deteriorated to a point beyond his control," said Staff Sgt. Grant Learned.
One man tried to swim to shore but was forced back by chest pains and nausea in the icy river. The only person wearing a life jacket in the boat was the toddler.
It was only due to the quick thinking of some firefighters, who found a canoe without paddles on the shoreline and improvised using shovels, that kept the crisis from turning into a tragedy.
On the same day in Prince George, the fates were not so kind — two women died after their jet-boat slammed into a log jam on the swollen Willow River and capsized. Two men aboard managed to swim to shore but the women didn't make it.
Perhaps the relaxation and good times enjoyed while boating causes people to forget safety is no laughing matter.
According to a 16-year Transport Canada study by the Office of Boating Safety, "the most frequent injury accidents involve capsizing and falling overboard" as well as non-swimmers and weak swimmers not wearing life jackets who "drown as a result."
Even the strongest of swimmers can't help themselves if they're knocked unconscious or are impaired by alcohol, fast currents, undertows or cold water.
The Canadian Safe Boating Council offers a website (smartboater.ca) where paddlers, sailers and other boaters can find useful information on boating safety, including some very specific rules and regulations for operators of various sizes of boats.
Driving or paddling in a boat may not be as technically complex as driving a car but the danger factor is still there. Please take the time to make sure you know what you're doing before heading out on the water this spring, and for heaven's sake, ensure that everyone not only has, but is wearing a life jacket.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.