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Monday , 28 September 2020

Staying safe on the water this summer

Water safety was highlighted last week in Vermilion.

Residents are being encouraged to take precautions to prevent possible drowning.

Mayor, Caroline McAuley, issued a proclamation recognizing National Drowning Prevention Week which was ongoing until July 25.

The Lifesaving Society (LS) said that approximately 400 drownings occur every year in Canada, and that most of them are preventable.

“I think it’s very relevant. We’ve even had members of our community lose their lives to drowning,” said McAuley.

LS said that 79 per cent of drowning victims are male and that of those, nine out of 10 are 20-34 years old.

From 2012 – 2016, 69 per cent of water-related fatalities occurred in lakes, ponds, and rivers with boating and swimming being the most common activities reported at the time.

There are often no lifeguards in these natural settings, and St. John Ambulance says people should look out for each other when near the water.

They said fatigue can occur after spending time in the sun, and to keep in mind that 40 per cent of Canada’s drowning fatalities from recreational boating are alcohol-related.

They state that 70 per cent of boating incidents could be avoided with proper training.

People can avoid challenges by being mindful of the weather. Dark clouds, strong winds, and sudden temperature drops are all signs to avoid.

LS recommends supervising children, not participating in aquatic activities while intoxicated, and always wearing life jackets or personal flotation devices while boating.

Another way to avoid tragedy is to know what to look for when a person is drowning.

Their head may appear low and partly submerged, their eyes may be closed or glassy, they may be kicking their legs but are making no headway, and their hair might be covering their eyes.

Less obvious signs may include being unusually quiet, or unable to wave and call for help – meaning they may not seem to be in distress at all. They suggest checking in regularly with those around you.

About Angela Mouly

Angela comes to Lakeland Connect Media from the Vermilion Voice newspaper where she spent the past four years reporting on community events. Her repertoire includes writing about history, politics, agriculture, sports, entertainment and art. She was the third place recipient of an AWNA General Excellence Award for “Best Front Page” during their 2016 Better Newspaper Competition. Angela has lived in rural Alberta all her life and in Vermilion for the past 15 years. She looks forward to continuing to serve and inform the Lakeland community by joining in people's many adventures and sharing their stories.