Summer water safety tips


Posted on Thursday, July 6, 2017

Summer is the time when Canadians take advantage of the open water. An average of 400 Canadians die each year from preventable drownings. A Red Cross report from 10 years of research states that children ages 1 to 4 and men ages 15-44 are at the greatest risk of drowning. Here are a number of open water safety tips to remember.

• Check the weather. Know the weather forecast. Wind and waves can come up suddenly. If you are caught in poor weather, take cover as quickly. Never swim or boat in thunder and lightning storms.

• Always wear a life jacket or PFD (personal flotation device). Life jackets and PFDs are only effective if worn correctly. Research shows that out of a 160 boating fatalities, 90 per cent of these deaths were preventable because the users were not wearing the jacket or were wearing them incorrectly.

• Never drink while boating. Drinking while boating can be just as dangerous; 41 percent of powerboat drownings involved alcohol. If you know that drinking will be a part of your outing, use a designated boat driver.

• Never underestimate currents. Currents are very powerful and can sweep a boater, swimmer or wader away instantly. If you are ever caught in fast running water or currents, roll onto your back and follow the water downstream feet first. Once out of current swim straight to shore. If your boat overturns while in fast waters, hang onto the end of the boat that is facing upstream.

• Obey signs and waterway rules. Swimmers need to obey all signs to ensure their safety. Boaters must know the rules of the waterways to avoid collisions or possible boat damage.