As the summer of 2020 approaches, the aquatic industry shares a concern that there will be a risk on increased drownings in the coming months.
Spring swimming lesson sessions normally serve as among other things, a way to ensure that people of all ages have the necessary skills to enjoy the summer months and water with confidence in a pool, lake, river, ocean or on a watercraft. However, the pandemic coronavirus COVID-19 has recently turned the world upside down and we feel it is important to ensure there is an awareness around the risk and safety issue.
The Canadian Drowning Report prepared by the Drowning Research Center of Canada identifies the following activities as having a high-risk for drowning:
- Swimming and other aquatic activity
- Non-aquatic activities (e.g. falling in the water)
- Unperceived risks or danger such as in the bathtub or during transport accidents
- Unknown factors.
Some of the common factors that lead to drowning were
- Toddlers alone around water
- Lack of supervision
- No PFD (personal floating device)
- Impaired judgment as a result of alcohol consumption
Swimming lessons and boat safety lessons are a key tool in preventing accidents before they happen. They teach swimmers the necessary skills set to be safer around the water and to recognize danger. They can also provide information on the right safety measures to have in place such as having and knowing where to locate a PFD on a boat.
With our population taking precautions in accordance with the lock down guidelines, these facilities for lessons and prevention education are not available.
With the warm weather many will be excited to get outside to enjoy some time outdoors. Some of this time will no doubt be spent around lakes, rivers, oceans and at cottages. We all need to be aware of the risk factors and ensure we are enjoying the outdoors safely.
According to the drowning report, following these preventative steps can help create a safer environment around the water this summer:
- Ensure kids of all ages are always supervised by an adult around water.
- Whether it is an outdoor source, home pool or bathtub.
- Wear a PFD when necessary around water and as per legal guidelines on a watercraft
- Be responsible with alcohol around water and have a designated sober adult.
- Take precautions when you are uncertain or uncomfortable around a water source.
As an industry partner, thank you for the role you play in keeping people of all ages safe and allowing them to enjoy the water and surrounding areas safely.