Children and adults die in preventable drownings in lakes, back yards and hotel pools every year across Canada.
Summertime is the most common time of year for drownings, with Saskatchewan averaging 20 deaths each year, according to Lifesaving Society Saskatchewan. Across the country, more than a dozen drowning deaths have already been reported this summer.
According to the Lifesaving Society, 85 per cent of drowning deaths involve men. Being alone on the water and not wearing a proper life jacket are the biggest factors in drowning deaths in Saskatchewan.
“In 100 per cent of cases, people aren’t wearing a life jacket,” Courtney Domoney, education director with the Lifesaving Society Saskatchewan, told paNOW. "That will save your life, and people just straight up aren’t wearing it.”
Domoney said both the style and comfort level of life jackets has improved, and recommends children and adults also take some basic swimming lessons, and even water rescue and first aid courses to improve their skills in the water. Supervising children around water, and using a buddy system when boating or fishing can also help prevent drownings, she said.
“You kind of have to be each other’s lifeguard a little bit. It’s important that when you’re with children and even with adults, that you’re watching out for each other and that you’re maintaining supervision and a buddy system,” she added.
Drowning Prevention Week is July 15 to 21 and the City of Prince Albert is planning a number of activities aimed at raising awareness about water safety. Reid Braaten with the Kinsmen Water Park, said the week will kick off with a swimming survival class July 16 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
This is the first year the city is hosting the Swim to Survive Challenge, a nationally-recognized program for swimmers of all ages and abilities. The challenge involves rolling into deep water, treading water for 60 seconds, and then swimming 50 meters.
“That’s been kind of set by the Lifesaving Society as the standard that people should be able to meet in order to survive a fall into deep water,” Braaten said. “It’s really important that people are able to swim effectively and safely.”
On Twitter: @CharleneTebbutt
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