Recent hot weather has Albertans flocking to lakes and rivers to enjoy recreational water activities such as tubing, paddle boarding and swimming. Unfortunately, each year tragic and avoidable water related injuries and fatalities occur across the province.
“So far in 2021, Alberta RCMP have responded to 14 drownings,” said Staff Sergeant Brent Meyer of Central Alberta District RCMP and Marine Instructor for Alberta RCMP.
“Drownings are usually preventable. A few easy precautions can help you enjoy Alberta’s waterways safely.”
Some safety tips recommended by the Canadian Red Cross include:
· Have a plan before you head out on the water and be prepared for any possible weather changes or emergencies.
· Open water is very different than swimming in a pool – distance can be deceiving, and you often must contend with cold water, waves, currents, drop offs, sandbars, water visibility, undertows, and underwater obstacles, as well as watercrafts. Know the swimming area and be aware of sudden drop offs to deep water.
· Whenever possible, swim with a buddy: When going out on the water make sure you are with another responsible swimmer. Children should be with an adult. Water toys of any size are not a substitute for adult supervision.
· Non-swimmers should wear a lifejacket at all times. When it comes to lifejackets, keeping one close by isn’t close enough. Choose to wear your lifejacket and make every water activity a safe one.
· Don’t drink and play: There is no safe way to mix alcohol or drugs with water activities.
With a little planning and caution, we can all enjoy our favourite recreational activities safely. For more tips on water safety, go to www.redcross.ca.
– Submitted by RCMP Alberta Media Relations