Look before you leap! That’s what the RCMP is asking from vacationers spending time on the water this summer. Why? Because, there have been 39 drownings in B.C. so far in 2012, three of which occurred over the B.C. Day long weekend.
Chris Duffy, executive director for Emergency Management B.C., says that he “has never seen such high water levels and flow rates at this time of year.” These high water level and flow conditions are a result of runoff of winter snowpack and the spring’s heavy rains. As a result, rivers and lakes flow much quicker than usual, which makes water activities like canoeing, kayaking, and swimming more dangerous, especially if you’re not properly prepared.
To help reduce the risk of water sport accidents, the B.C. Coroners Service offers these water safety tips:
- Always wear a life jacket that is properly fitted, even in shallow water,
- Keep close supervision of children near the water,
- Don’t drink alcohol when near the water,
- Follow all posted safety notices,
- Check the weather before you head out and be prepared for changes,
- Get familiar with how a boat or canoe operates and don’t overload them,
- Don’t dive into any water without checking first to be sure it is safe.
It’s critical that we all use extra caution when in the water to help prevent accidents. In particular, don’t take unnecessary risks or become complacent. Think ahead and plan for all foreseeable dangers.
For More Information:
- High water increases risk of drowning, The Interior News
- Officials urge caution around B.C. waters this long weekend, CBC News