HRC Insurance Blog

Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day

PFD/Life Jackets- It only works if you WEAR IT!


Here at Hutcheson Reynolds and Caswell our staff take pride in ensuring safe boating on our waters during the summer. This year we are taking part in the national wide campaign, “Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day”.  “Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day" is hosted by the North American Safe Boating Council. This campaign is the kick off for National Safe Boating Week. The North American Safe Boating Council has a main priority of educating the boating community about the importance of wearing your lifejacket or PFD while on the water. Although it is the law that a  life jackets or PFD must be available per rider in the boat, most people choose not to wear them. “Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day” is a fun and unique campaign that educates boaters about the different types of life jackets and PFD’s while demonstrating their comfort and versatility by wearing them to work.

If we can work in them you can ride in them!  


 Why Should I Wear One?

Every year in Canada hundreds of Canadians drown while boating. Although most of them never intended to be in the water, and were just enjoying their boating activity accidents happen.  Over 87% of the drowning victims were not wearing a lifejacket or a PFD (or did not have it done up properly) when they drown (Source: Canadian Red Cross Drowning Report).

The Rules

Many rules and regulations are set that state which safety features must be aboard the vessel at all times however one that is implies to all vessels is that each member aboard the vessel must have a proper fitting PFD or life jacket. The PFD or life jacket must be approved by Transport Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard or the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.  It is highly recommended that everyone wears their device at all times while aboard the vessel. Life jackets that are in poor condition or that have rips are not considered approved. A life jacket only works if you’re wearing it.


Here are some tips on how to ensure you are selecting the right life jacket for you!

 The Difference Between a Life Jacket and Personal Flotation Device (PFD)


Life Jacket

Personal Flotation Device (PFD)

  • A lifejacket is designed to turn an unconscious person from face down to face up in the water, allowing them to breathe.
  • Lifejackets have more buoyancy than PFDs. Most of the buoyancy material is in the front of the device.
  • Lifejackets must be red, yellow or orange, and must have a whistle attached. These features make it easier to be located in a rescue situation.
  • A lifejacket is the best choice if your child is unable to swim or is a weak swimmer. It will give your child the best possible chance for survival should they end up in the water unexpectedly.
  • Canadian approved life jackets come in two sizes:
    • one for people who weigh over 40 kg (90 lbs),
    • one for people who weigh less than 40 kg (90 lbs).


  • A PFD is designed for flotation and to keep a conscious person’s head out of the water in calm conditions.
  • PFDs have less buoyancy. The floatation material is on the back of the device. This makes them less bulky and more comfortable allowing for greater movement than a lifejacket.
  • Canadian-approved PFDs are available in a variety of colours. Bright colours allow a person to be seen easily in the water if help is needed.
  • PFDs were designed for use in recreational boating and are a good choice for people who are confident in the water.


 Select the Right Style- there are numerous different style of life jackets for every occasion

 For cruising in an open motorboat: Comfort is key – choose a life jacket you’ll want to wear. For ages 16 and older, inflatable life jackets are a great option.

 For fishing: Vest-style life jackets come with features such as pockets and clips to replace the fishing vest and keep the angler safe.

For personal watercraft and water sports: Inherently buoyant lighter-weight life jackets are rugged, with multiple buckles and clasps to keep them secure after impact with the water.


For hunting and cold weather: Full coats and suits are available in camouflage colors for waterfowl hunting and for those who boat when air and water temperatures are cool.

 For paddling: Special life jackets are designed with large openings for arms to allow ease of movement.

 For children: Virtually all styles available are sized especially for children – some with cartoon characters, straps for pulling children from the water and high-visibility schemes.

 For pets: Life jackets are even available for our four-legged friends. It’s helpful to purchase one with a handle on top to easily pull your pet out of the water, if needed.


Make Sure It Fits- Your life jacket/PFD only work if it fits!!

You don’t want your life jacket/PFD too large or too small. A snug fit is a proper fit. Remember, life jackets for adults do not work for children.

  1. Make sure your life jacket/PFD is Canada Coast Guard approved

  2. Check the manufacturer’s ratings for your size and weight.

  3. Make sure the life jacket/PFD  is properly zipped or buckled.

  4. Raise your arms straight up over your head while wearing your life jacket and ask a friend to grasp the tops of the arm openings, gently pulling up.

  5. If there is excess room above the openings and the life jacket/PFD rides up over your chin or face, it does NOT fit properly. A snug fit in these areas signals a properly fitting life jacket.

How to Care for Your Life Jacket

Refer to OWNER’S MANUAL for specific maintenance requirements.

All Life Jacket Care

  • Use properly

  • No rips, waterlogging or mildew

  • Dry after use

  • Hand wash in mild detergent

  • Store in a dry place when not boating

For More information follow these links:

Since the 1900's...

Born under the name George Hutcheson, Hutcheson, Reynolds & Caswell Ltd. began providing insurance policies in Muskoka since the early 1900s. Bernard Reynolds joined the firm in the 1940s and purchased the firm from George Hutcheson in 1967. Finally, in 1980, David Caswell joined the company's ranks to complete Hutcheson, Reynolds and Caswell. We have grown along with our name and provide the same dedication to superior customer service and top-notch insurance coverage that George Hutcheson was famous for over 100 years ago.