A pair of Calgary siblings are vowing to keep floating the Elbow River vest-free, despite a judge upholding a bylaw forcing rafters to buckle up.

Cory, 22, and Brittiany Latouche, 25, filed a constitutional challenge to a bylaw stating people must wear life-jackets at all times when they’re on a city waterway after being hit with a $500 fine last summer.

The pair argued that under Canada’s constitution only the federal government can make laws about waterways, but Judge Judith Shriar said they failed to successfully argue that the city’s rule impairs any of the federal government’s powers.

Federal laws stipulate that life-jackets must be in the boat or raft, not that they must be worn.

City lawyer Ola Malik said the bylaw complements that rule: “We’re protecting the lives and safety of those who engage in boating activities.”

But the Latouches won’t be wearing their jackets this summer. “I will not wear a life-jacket. It’s the Elbow River, it’s not the Bow. The water is knee-deep high. I think it’s the personal choice of Calgarians to decide if they want to wear one or not,” Cory said.

The siblings are appealing the decision, but Brittiany said the fight isn’t about the ticket.

“It’s a lot of money and I don’t think people should be fined for not wearing a life-jacket in such shallow water. That should be our decision,” she said.

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