Advocates plead with public to practice water safety ahead of long weekend

WatchAfter a week of hot temperatures and ahead of the long weekend, advocates are reminding the public to be water safe.

After a week of hot temperatures and ahead of the long weekend, advocates are reminding the public to be water safe.

“Nobody intends to get into trouble in the water when they head to the beach. In many drownings, people never intended to even go in the waters,” said Dale Miller, executive director for Lifesaving Society for BC/Yukon.

Beaches, lakes, and pools will be full of people cooling off, and people need to be wary of the hot weather affecting their ability to stay afloat, according to Miller.

“There are many environmental factors certainly that people need to think about when they head to the waters. Right now, heat is one of them and that can certainly weaken someone’s ability to swim,” he said.

This year alone, there have been 17 drowning deaths between B.C. and Yukon, according to the society. On Vancouver Island, there have been five drownings with most in the Nanaimo area.

Among the deaths, 77 per cent of the victims were male — the highest affected age demographic was the age 20-34 group.

“That’s 17 too many, but it is down from previous years. This time last year we were at 27, so the downward trend is a good thing to see and that’s very positive,” said Miller.

Miller said boaters need to remember to carry their life vests when out on the water and to not jump into the water in the event someone is drowning.

“Either talking them in, reaching to them, throwing something to them, just about anything before you jump in and potentially become a victim yourself,” said Miller.

He also said people swimming should not overestimate their ability to do so, adding that families should use the buddy system when swimming.

“Often people will think they can swim farther than they can and there are a number of environmental conditions that are quite different in the water, oceans, and lakes than if they were swimming in a pool,” said Miller.

In the event of drowning, the BC Ambulance service says to call 911 immediately and an operator can guide callers through CPR if necessary.

[email protected]

Oli HerreraOli Herrera

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!