BEACH towels such as this one help spread the message that common sense can prevent drowning deaths.

BEACH towels such as this one help spread the message that common sense can prevent drowning deaths.

Drowning prevention urged

EXPECT to see towels containing an anti-drowning message dotting the Lakelse Lake picnic site this summer.

EXPECT to see towels containing an anti-drowning message dotting the Lakelse Lake picnic site this summer.

Emblazoned with the words “before you think only other swimmers drown, have a word with yourself,” the towels are part of a province-wide campaign.

Last year, a record 50 drownings happened in BC as of the first week of August.  According to Vital Statistics, there are at least 60 deaths each year in BC due to drowning and water-transport related incidents and submersions.

Ninety per cent of drowning deaths while boating are a result of not wearing a lifejacket or PFD; in addition, alcohol is associated with 40 per cent of drownings amongst Canadians ages 15 and over.

Watching your children is equally crucial – drowning is the leading cause of injury death for children aged 0-4 years old.

“Half of the children who drowned were alone and unsupervised at the time. Parents need to be constantly aware and take protective measures when children are around water – be it the pool, bathtub, lake or the ocean,” adds Derek Mahoney, First Aid & Water Safety Program Representative of the Red Cross, one of the groups backing the prevention campaign.

The campaign is also being backed by BC Hydro.

To learn more about water safety and preventable injuries, visit www.preventable.ca