Government of Canada Announces New Funding for Boating Safety Projects

In celebration of North American Safe Boating Awareness Week, Joyce Murray, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Quadra and Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board, announced new funding to support initiatives that promote safe boating practices and behaviours in Canada. Murray made the announcement on behalf of the Honourable Marc Garneau, Canada’s Minister of Transport.

For 2017, the University of British Columbia, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the Massawippi Water Protection Association are receiving a total of $1.24 million over three years for education and awareness projects. These projects aim to increase the number of pleasure craft operators following safe boating practices, and also to reduce injuries, loss of life and property damage due to boating accidents.

“I am pleased to see that, year after year, our partners and stakeholders are onboard with our efforts to promote the importance of safe boating practices across the country,” says Murray. “Together, we are making our waterways safer and working to reduce boating fatalities and injuries.”

The funding comes from Transport Canada’s Boating Safety Contribution Program, which has two components – one geared towards recreational boating safety and the other focused on safe boating practices on board small commercial fishing vessels.

Boating Safety Projects
The University of British Columbia (UBC) will receive $920,745 for a three-year project. UBC plans to develop a social marketing campaign and conduct research related to awareness, attitudes and behaviours among recreational boaters in British Columbia.

The UBC project is divided into three phases:

Phase 1 (Preparation) – a report will be generated about recreational boating injuries in BC, including the review of existing reports, lessons learned from prior project evaluations, market research and consultations with experts in the field. Based on these findings, UBC will develop a social marketing campaign to promote safe boating practices and behaviours. The plan will be tested via a series of focus groups across BC’s five health authorities, and refined accordingly. Prior to launch, formal baseline measurements will be taken to evaluate the success of the campaign.

Phase two (Implementation) – the campaign will be launched through television, newspapers, blogs, radio, ambient signage and other marketing approaches. The campaign activities will be monitored, assessed and measured on an on-going basis.

Phase three (Optimization) – public response will be tracked and the campaign will be modified accordingly. UBC will generate a final report quantifying the campaign’s impacts. Results will be shared with other jurisdictions to promote best practices.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), a not-for-profit, non-government organization based in Oakville, Ontario, will receive $175,777 for a three-year national project. MADD Canada is proposing to install approximately 425 signs across Canada between 2017 and 2019 that will advise Canadians to contact 911 if they notice drinking-and-boating activity.

Marlene Stephens, a MADD Chapter Board Member.
Marlene Stephens, a MADD Chapter Board Member.

MADD Canada will also update, reprint and distribute their safe boating brochure and post cards each year. In year three, it will develop a survey and distribute questionnaires to boaters across Canada that will collect data about boaters’ attitudes and behaviours toward impaired boating and the impact of the signs. The results will provide guidance on how to maximize the impact of education & outreach materials and drive behavioural and attitudinal change with respect to impaired boating.

Also in year three, MADD will produce new English and French safe boating television public service announcements (PSAs) with an emphasis on impaired boating.

Massawippi Water Protection Association, a not-for-profit, non-government organization based in North Hatley, Quebec, will receive $149,156 for a three-year local project. The project aims to instill a sense of self-responsibility and management for boating safety-related regulations and practices, as well as respect for the environment of the Massawippi Lake and its tributaries.

To achieve this, they will conduct research to identify various characteristics of the lake, including hazards, dangers, boating traffic patterns, and high-risk areas, in order to better understand the local boating environment. They will also develop signage and install markers in certain areas of the lake to improve boating safety.

The Association will hire summer students to carry out public presentations, demonstrations and to distribute promotional materials at schools, community events, boat launches and through safety patrols on water.

They will develop communication materials such as posters, pamphlets, promotional items, advertisements and social media messaging. They will also develop a boating safety training program in collaboration with the local Servite College.