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NEWS RELEASE · 12th July 2010
Ministry of Public Safety
With temperatures soaring across the province, the B.C. Coroner's Service is cautioning British Columbians who are heading to lakes and rivers to be careful when participating in water-related recreation.

While data for this year is still unavailable, last year in B.C., 66 people lost their lives as a result of activities in and around water, with males accounting for 86 per cent of those deaths. The most common cause of water-related deaths in 2009 was drowning, at 69 per cent.

A large proportion of the deaths, a total of 28, occurred in July and August. Of those, 19 fatalities - or 68 per cent - were the result of drowning during activities such as swimming, power boating, diving and white-water rafting, among others.

Most deaths occurred in the Island region (23 deaths or 35 per cent) and the Interior region (22 deaths or 33 per cent). These statistics do not include deaths resulting from motor vehicle or aircraft crashes into water, or other non-water-related issues while on watercraft.

The Canadian Red Cross offers the following safety tips to prevent water related injuries and deaths: http://www.redcross.ca/article.aspid=18499&tid=024.

* When boating, ensure everyone in the boat has their properly fitted lifejacket on and fastened.
* Do not consume alcohol before or during swimming or boating activities.
* Be cautious about swimming in currents, and know what to do if you get into trouble.
* Get trained through swimming and water safety lessons. Get your Pleasure Craft Operator Card if you operate a boat. Know how to respond in an emergency by taking first-aid lessons.
* Ensure children are supervised, whether at home or on vacation. Adult supervision is the best protection for children - even for those who can swim.
* Ensure that your backyard pool is fully fenced with a self-closing, self-latching gate.
* When not using your home pool, clear all toys out of the water and away from the edge. These can often tempt children to the water's edge.
* Ensure you have emergency equipment including a first aid kit and a phone in the immediate pool area.