Every year as summer sets in and more Albertans take to our provincial rivers and lakes, there is an unfortunate increase of water-related accidents and fatalities.
It is important to understand the risks associated with water activities and take necessary precautions so that we can safely enjoy our waterways.
Between January 2016 and July 2020, there were 67 drowning fatalities in Alberta.
Seventy-five percent of the individuals who drowned were over the age of 21, and 70 per cent of the incidents occurred on a lake or river. From January 2020 to date, there has been a total of five fatalities due to drowning.
To reduce the risks of drowning and promote water-safety, RCMP asks Albertans to remember the following:
· children must be supervised by an adult while swimming.
· children and inexperienced swimmers should always wear a lifejacket when in the water.
· check both water and weather conditions before heading out on a lake or river. Weather can change and quickly become dangerous.
· ensure there are enough lifejackets or Personal Floatation Devices for every person on a watercraft.
· ensure boats have a safety kit and cell phone on board in case of emergencies.
· never operate a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
· avoid climbing rocks or cliffs near water for photo op purposes. A selfie should never compromise your safety.
By being properly prepared and implementing water-safety best practices, we can all do our part to prevent drowning fatalities.