Safety is Key to Fun in the Water
Prince George, B.C. – Some words of wisdom from the provincial government for those recreating on B.C.’s waterways, not only on this Canada Day weekend but all year long.
The message from the office of Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Morris is, take care – especially when boating or swimming – during summer, when drowning-related deaths increase.
A BC Coroners Service report states that over the past eight years the rate of accidental drowning deaths per capita in B.C. has fallen 29 percent. However, it says many of the 605 fatalities analyzed were preventable, and vigilance and awareness are keys to water safety.
Most drowning-related fatalities in the province occur between May and August. Boating mishaps are the leading cause of drowning among recreational water users, accounting for 25 of 65 deaths in 2015. In a small craft, wearing a properly-fitted personal floatation device (PFD) at all times is the single most effective safety step to take.
Falls and swimming accounted for another 23 deaths last year. Swimmers are urged to swim with a buddy and stay out of the water if under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The Coroners Service report also states that three times as many deaths occurred on lakes, ponds, rivers and creeks as on the ocean. Twenty percent of the drowning victims in 2015 were not residents of B.C., and four of the five people who drowned were male.
So far this year there have been 13 drowning deaths in this province.