In 2014, the NWTRPA received a two-year grant from Transport Canada’s Office for Boating Safety to do research about men and boating safety and develop community-based resources to help reduce the number of drownings.
The goal of the research funded by Transport Canada’s Office for Boating Safety was to try to understand why many more men than women drown each year in the NWT as a result of boating-related incidents and to help communities to develop a program or resource (e.g., booklet, website, or app) that would work towards reducing these incidents.
Dr. Audrey Giles, a long-time member of the NWTRPA Aquatics Committee, and her team met with citizens and organizations in three NWT communities (Deline, Fort Simpson, and Inuvik) to discuss development of resources that the communities could use that met their individual needs. Each community had different views of what was important to them and what resource they thought would best reach men in their area.
- Deline desired a checklist that could help prepare male boaters for a trip on the water. They asked that an app for phones and computers be created, with features such as real-time weather, a clickable checklist, and a way to check in with emergency contacts. They also felt that boat safety training would help and requested a Pleasure Craft Operator course be held in the community, with a northern supplement addition involving traditional knowledge and cold water survival.
- Fort Simpson decided the best way to influence safer boating with men in their area was to offer a Pleasure Craft Operator course with a northern supplement, as well as focus on creating and displaying signs about drinking and boating at their boat launch. They liked the idea of the app with checklist and also decided that this would be a helpful resource to have accessible to community members.
- Inuvik sought to create an education/social media campaign that targeted safe boating practices such as letting others know where you were travelling and wearing lifejackets, which could be posted around town and used at events.