VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – With temperatures set to heat up again over the weekend across the Lower Mainland, beaches will be full and lakes buzzing with boats.
In recent weeks, we’ve already seen how dangerous the water can be. But there are ways to help ensure you stay safe.
Thinking ahead is key, and Dale Miller with the BC and Yukon Branch of the Lifesaving Society says that means making sure you have the right equipment if you’re on a boat. That includes lifejackets, which should be worn by everyone — not just stored on board.
“We see far too many drownings with people who are thrown from a boat without a lifejacket on.”
He adds people often rely on inflatable floating devices, but someone — who may not be the best swimmer — can easily fall off.
“Lifejackets and personal floatation devices are definitely the best [method to prevent] drowning. Wearing them is best. If they can be thrown to someone in trouble in the water, that’s a great assist, as well.”
If you’re near water and the person you’re with falls in, Miller says you shouldn’t jump in after them, even if doing so is your first instinct.
“The ‘ladder of risk’ — as we call it — starts with talking to them, reaching, throwing something to them.”
If none of those options are working, call 9-1-1.
Miller says so far this year, there have been 30 drownings in BC. “Unfortunately, four of those are related to people trying to rescue someone else.”