Column: Practice water safety

Summer has arrived in the Cariboo-Chilcotin and as the temperature rises, residents are heading outdoors to explore our beautiful lakes.

Summer has arrived in the Cariboo-Chilcotin and as the temperature rises, residents are heading outdoors to explore our beautiful lakes, rivers and provincial parks.

The Cariboo-Chilcotin is home to many outdoor enthusiasts and explorers who enjoy canoeing at Moose Valley Provincial Park or the legendary Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit, kayaking the central coast, white water rafting, fresh and saltwater fishing and swimming in the region’s many beautiful lakes. With so many outdoor water activities, tourists travel from around the Province and beyond to enjoy what we have to offer.

While water sports are always a favourite amongst locals and tourists during the summer months, it is important to remember water safety. Keep these tips in mind to ensure your safety and the safety of others.

When enjoying some family fun, supervision of young children is crucial. According to the Canadian Red Cross, 75 per cent of deaths by drowning of young children under the age of 10 is caused by the absence of an adult, even if that child can swim. Knowing how to swim is important, but it doesn’t always help you in an emergency situation. Learning water safety is key to being prepared. Always watch for hazards when swimming in open waters, look before you choose to dive in shallower water, and make sure there is always someone nearby who can see you.

Did you know that every year, approximately 525 Canadians lose their lives due to unintentional water-related fatalities? The Canadian Red Cross says more than 57 per cent of incidents occur during the summer months and 166 of these deaths are boating-related. To prevent such incidents, everyone must remember to wear a lifejacket and don’t drink and boat! More than 50 per cent of boating accidents are caused by alcohol being present.

Water activities are a popular attraction in the Cariboo-Chilcotin and provide endless fun. If you plan on enjoying a day at the lake or bringing out the surfboard, remember water safety is key and always be prepared.

Have a safe and wonderful summer!

Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin.

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