Swim to Survive - What You Need to Know About Staying Safe Near Water This Summer

by Pool Builders on 06-24-2010 in Articles

Summer in Canada is almost synonymous with water. Perhaps it's our almost infinite number of freshwater lakes, rivers and ponds, the two oceans that surround us, or just our many home and community swimming pools, but for most of us, summer means spending time either on, near, or in the water.

But there's a dark side to all that blue water. Drowning is the second leading cause of preventable death for children under the age of 10. And typically, two thirds of drowning victims don't even intend to actually go swimming in the water - and most of them know how to swim.

The majority of drowning deaths are people who know how to swim, and almost 70 per cent of them are within 15 metres of safety. Those are pretty scary statistics for anyone who likes to spend their summer near water.

Water safety skills for everyone
The three biggest water safety skills everyone should learn is how to roll into the water, how to tread water and how to swim 50 metres to safety. The key is not to panic when you fall into water. That happens too often; a person falls in, becomes disoriented, panics and actually starts swimming in the wrong direction. By the time help arrives, it's often too late.

Instead, if you do fall in, you should:

Blow bubbles to reorient yourself. If you do fall in unexpectedly, blow a few bubbles. The bubbles will move in the direction of the shore, which will help you orient yourself.

Tread water for a minute. Once you've oriented yourself, take one minute to tread water so you can shout for help if it is nearby. If you've fallen out of a boat, keep a hand on the boat. A boat is much more visible than a little person floating around on his own.

Get into a life jacket, if possible. If you're not wearing a life jacket (although if you're on a boat, you should wear one at all times) and one is accessible, now's the time to get one on.

Start swimming. It doesn't have to be pretty - it just has to be effective. If you find you're getting tired, try rolling on to your back where it's easier to breathe.

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