After a number of recent drownings and accidents on the water in and around Muskoka, the Lifesaving Society is reminding Ontario residents of ways they can prevent future tragedies during National Drowning Prevention Week.
The mission of Lifesaving Society Canada is to prevent drowning – even one drowning is one too many. Over 400 people fatally drown annually in Canada, making it the second leading cause of unintentional death for children and the third leading cause of unintentional death for adults. In particular, Indigenous, northern and new Canadians have a disproportionately high mortality burden. In fact, the drowning burden is so great around the world that the United Nations General Assembly passed the UN Resolution on Drowning Prevention (A/75/L.76) and named July 25 of each year as World Drowning Prevention Day.
During the week of July 18 to 24, the Lifesaving Society of Canada will be educating and promoting safety awareness in, on and around the water.
Statistics show that almost 70 per cent of drowning fatalities never intended to go into the water and were often within 15 metres of safety. Nearly every Canadian has known someone who has drowned or had a non-fatal drowning experience, whether personally or from his or her community.
To help reduce drowning, all Canadians are encouraged to:
- Learn the Lifesaving Society Swim to Survive standard (teaches how to survive an unexpected fall into the water) and participate in a learn-to-swim program.
- Wear a properly fitted lifejacket when out on a boat or doing other water activities.
- Refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages while participating in aquatic activities.
- Ensure that children are under the direct supervision of an adult when around barrier-free bodies of water.
- Practice proper Boating Safety. Choose it. Use it. Always wear a lifejacket when in a boat.
The majority of drownings are preventable in a Water Smart community. For more information on drowning prevention and water safety, visit the Lifesaving Society’s website.