Our View: Practise caution around water

There can be deadly consequences when safety is not practised.

 

Nothing beats the heat quite like taking a dip, whether it’s inching into the water up to your knees, taking a couple of cooling strokes or enjoying a full-blown invigorating swim.

And with no end in sight to our unseasonably hot summer, more and more people are taking the plunge this year.

Bound on three sides by water, Sidney’s stretches of shoreline entice locals and visitors alike for both swimming and boating.

At the risk of putting a damper on anyone’s idea of innocent fun, it’s important to remember that safety should always come first before you venture into or onto the water.

Two devastating accidents on Vancouver Island this summer, one at Sproat Lake which claimed the life of a Greater Victoria man and the other which saw a young rugby player visiting from England drown in Shawnigan Lake, underscore the need to remind people of the potential for deadly consequences when playing in or on the water.

Last week lifeguards at Recreation Oak Bay set out to reduce the number of water related fatalities by increasing education and awareness towards water safety and drowning prevention. They put on  a Drowning Prevention Week Friday Fun Swim offering patrons a chance to participate in the Lifesaving Society’s Swim to Survive Challenge and watch demos from the Junior Lifeguard Camp. The same thing could be done at Panorama Rec Centre. They do a short half-hour Red Cross swim lesson in the Creative Craft & Splash program aimed at young children.

So please, be mindful that you can’t take too many precautions on or near the water, whatever the circumstances. And remember, alcohol and water conspire to form a deadly cocktail that always makes the raft appear to be closer or that dive from a cliff less daunting.

We encourage you to responsibly enjoy all the pleasures the water has to offer this summer. But  take a few minutes while you’re checking your cell phone or waiting for the sunscreen to dry to wade over to redcross.ca for lifesaving advice in, on or around the water.