Canada has more lakes than any other country in the world. This year with borders closed and travel restrictions due to COVID-19, an increased number of people are exploring all of our gorgeous lakes which is amazing except unfortunately, this may result in an increased number of lake related injuries and fatalities if proper safety measures aren’t taken.
According to the Lifesaving Society’s 2019 Canadian Drowning Report, 64% of drownings occurred between May to September and 43% of drownings were related to a lake/pond. The following are a few tips to remember when you are on a boat:
• Do not consume alcohol or drugs and then swim in a lake;
• Avoid swimming alone;
• If you are on a boat, wear a lifejacket or at least ensure that one is nearby. The law requires that recreational boats have one properly fitting life jacket for every person on the boat. Note: 9 out of 10 people that have drown in boating incidents were not wearing a life jacket;
• Drunk boating is the same as drunk driving. It’s illegal and can result in criminal charges;
• Try to swim where a lifeguard is present. Drowning in a lifeguard supervised setting only occurred in 1% of cases last year; and
• Be sure to have a valid Pleasure Craft Operator card (commonly referred to as a “boating license) if you are operating a power-driven boat.
Enjoy exploring all of our wonderful lakes this summer but remember that the while lakes can be fun, they can also be dangerous. Take the appropriate safety measure to avoid sustaining injury or having a fatal accident. In an instant, fun can be replaced by avoidable tragedy.