The BC Coroners Service (BCCS) has released its latest report into accidental drowning deaths in the province, and Island Health saw a notable number of deaths last year.
In 2022, B.C. saw 86 accidental drowning deaths, according to a report released by the BCCS on Friday.
That total is above the yearly average of 76, or 1.5 per 100,000 population.
The health authority that recorded the highest number of accidental drowning deaths last year was Interior Health, with 31.
Island Health saw the second-highest number with 18, followed by Fraser Health with 15, Vancouver Coastal Health with 14 and Northern Health with eight.
The summer season saw the highest number of accidental drowning deaths in the province.
Between June and August, 43 of the year’s 86 drowning deaths were recorded, with 11 seen in June, 16 seen in July and 16 recorded in August.
While no Island lakes were a main source of drowning deaths over the past decade, the Cowichan River made it on the provinces list of top 10 rivers and creeks were drowning deaths occurred since 2012.
Between 2012 and 2022, the Fraser River saw 53 drowning deaths, the Thompson River saw nine, Columbia River recorded eight, the Similkameen River saw eight, and the Cowichan River recorded six.
In May, a woman was hailed as a hero for rescuing two people from drowning in Thetis Lake.
US national bobsled team member Rylie Matthews heard screaming from the water and rushed out on her paddleboard, pulling a man and a woman from the lake.
“It was really emotional,” she told CHEK News at the time.
“I was pretty rattled by the whole thing, I think, just because I kept thinking what could have happened if I wouldn’t have gotten to them in time,” she said.
View Royal Fire Chief Paul Hurst spoke with the near-drowning victims and is encouraging everyone to be safe while enjoying the water, including wearing a life jacket if you don’t know how to swim.
The coroners service says 38 per cent of drowning deaths recorded last year involved alcohol or drugs.
Last year, 78 per cent of drowning victims were male, while 22 per cent were female.