Thinking about summer safety

It is absolutely critical that Canadians everywhere take measures to prevent drowning

Did you know almost nine per cent of Canada is covered by freshwater? According to Environment Canada, this accounts for more than 890,000 square kilometers. Such a significant water presence in the country makes it absolutely critical that Canadians everywhere take measures to prevent drowning and avoid putting themselves and others in danger.

In 2013, the last year in which full data is available from the Chief Coroner’s and

Medical Examiner’s offices, there were 456 unintentional water fatalities in Canada. This represents a decline from 2012, and the second-lowest number of fatalities since 2004. Over the five-year timespan from 2009 to 2013, unintentional water fatalities account for a yearly average of 1.4 per 100,000 Canadians.

According to the Lifesaving Society, the underlying demographic information continues to stay static, with the most represented groups in these statistics remaining people between the ages of 20 and 24 (accounting for 9.6 per cent of the total in 2013,) people over the age of 65 (19.3 per cent) and men (81.4 per cent average over the last five years.)

A disproportionate amount of these fatalities occurs as a result of recreational activities, including more than a quarter of all fatalities occurring while boating. Many of these fatalities involved alcohol consumption, which can impair judgment, reaction time and sense of balance. Not only is drinking and boating illegal, but it’s also not smart. Don’t do it.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, 82 per cent of those involved in boating-related fatalities were not wearing personal flotation devices. Lifejackets save lives. Having one present in the boat but not accessible in emergency situations isn’t effective or useful. If you’re planning on being near water, wear your lifejacket. You never know when something unexpected might happen and you’re thrown in the water involuntarily.

To that point, only 25 per cent of unintentional fatalities were the result of aquatic activities where the victim intended on being in the water. This highlights quite clearly the importance of knowing how to swim. In an emergency, it’s critical that you know how to get your head above the surface of the water and to keep it there. If you’re anything less than 100 per cent confident in your swimming abilities, take swimming lessons. It’s never too late, and it’s a lifelong skill that may very well end up being the difference for you some day.

Drowning deaths are tragic and entirely avoidable, whether it’s in relation to an unsupervised two-year-old child in a private pool, a 23-year old man on a boat or a 72-year old woman drowning in a bathtub. Do your part to keep yourself and those around you as protected as possible. A person can drown in just a few short seconds and very quietly. Be on hand to help in an emergency, and ensure that someone else is around for you. Together, we can make a difference.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

District of Clearwater meetings are open to the public. The meeting agendas and past meetings minutes can be viewed on the DOC's website. Every meeting has time allocated at the end for comments from the public.
District of Clearwater hires new chief adminstrative officer

The new CAO will arrive at the end of June.

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

FILE PHOTO
Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is an independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s 1st vaccine-induced blood clot case detected in Interior Health

Interior Health also recorded 52 new cases of COVID-19

(Kamloops This Week file photo)
Probe into TNRD spending taken over by federal police unit

Financial Integrity Sensitive Investigations Unit is now reviewing the case

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are in the Comox Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Suspected bird strike on Snowbirds plane during training in B.C.

Pilot followed protocols and landed the aircraft on the ground without any problems

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

An adult male yellow-breasted chat is shown in this undatd photograph on lands protected in collaboration between the En’owkin Centre and Penticton Indian Band with support through ECCC. The rescue from near extinction for a little yellow bird hinges on the wild rose in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, a researcher says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, A. Michael Bezener/ En’owkin Centre 2020 *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Rare yellow birds need wild roses to survive in British Columbia: researcher

The importance of local wild roses emerged over a nearly 20-year experiment

RCMP officers search around rows of luggage carts as screens block off an area of the sidewalk after a shooting outside the international departures terminal at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Police say gang conflict in Metro Vancouver may be behind shooting death at airport

Police said this generation of gangsters is taking things to new level and have no regard for community safety

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

Most Read