Summer Fun in the Sun and Water Safety; Preventable Injuries

With the recent heat wave that has hit our city, many people are taking to the water to cool off. Lots of those people are out on the water, enjoying their boating leisure. Many others are sticking to the beaches and waterways around the city. The tragic side effect of both of these activities are the shocking number of people who drown.

You're Probably Not Expecting to Drown Today
You're Probably Not Expecting to Drown Today

Is it inevitable that six people (on average) are going to drown each and every month? Is that “just the way it is” and always will be? What are your thoughts on this issue? Are these tragic deaths truly preventable?

To learn more about the MANY types of preventable injuries that plague us, you can visit the people at Preventable dot ca to learn more.

If you care to add to our discussion here,  we are currently running a contest to get people thinking about preventable injuries or accidents, with a focus on drowning deaths this month. To learn more about our contest you can click on our “First Contest…” All the “legal stuff” about the contest is posted there as well.

If you want to add your thoughts to this conversation, feel free to post your comments here on this post. All comments on the following questions adds to the conversation;

  • What it will take to shift peoples’ attitudes towards water safety?
  • What will it take to make the shift from it being acceptable to take a case of beer and coolers on the boat with you to the point where people understand that drinking and boating is equally as dangerous as drinking and driving an automobile?
  • What will it take to make the shift so that people just know to slip on a life vest or some PFD (personal floatation device) while out on a boat?
  • What will it take to make that shift in peoples’ thinking and attitudes?


  1. Thought I’d get me an additional entry into the contest by telling y’all how my brother-in-law did not drown. Yet.

    He bought a 2nd hand sea-doo. They have a home on Lake Huron and he’s practicing being semi-retired by enjoying his beach.

    Down goes the family to the beach. Out goes my b-i-law on the sea-doo. We’re all chatting, wading, a little swimming. At some point, we notice that b-i-law is sitting about a mile or so out from the beach and not going anywhere.

    We can’t see him on the sea-doo. Other b-i-law runs up to the house for binoculars. I go get the camera (I like to be helpful!) Up to the house is not a euphemism … it is a steeeep cliff with many stairs and inclined slopes.

    We confirm, he is not on the sea-doo, but he is in the water behind it and appears to be okay. What do we do? The speed boat just raced past him without stopping! A sea-doo without a rider and you don’t stop to check?

    As we debated phoning the coast guard (?) my sister-in-law phoned a neighbour with a boat. Meanwhile, another b-in-law managed to flag down a fellow on a sea-doo who set his passenger down on shore, got a rope, and rescued my stranded b-i-law.

    The engine had conked out and he thought he might be able to swim the machine to shore. The current was taking him away from shore. He’s not a strong swimmer – and he discovered his pdf was inadequate to keep him afloat.

    Needless to say we urged him to get a proper life jacket before venturing out again … he was already tinkering with the motor sure he knew how to get it going once it dried out. I think he scared himself enough to make the change.

  2. Its such a tricky question/set of questions. My gut says that there need to be STRICT laws in place… ENFORCED laws in place before anyone is going to take it seriously. That being said… people break laws everyday. Just look at hands free phone laws being introduced. I still see people talking on their phones everyday w/o hands free. It probably sounds heartless, but if people want to kill themselves… go for it. Be stupid, and wreckless and kill youself. My problem is when that stupidity kills someone else. IDIOTS! I dont know if there is a solution to this problem… I think it needs to realistically be dealt with in various forms: laws, enforcement, PSA, ecudation in schools, etc. Its going to take time though…

  3. Thinking about your questions I thought that maybe if there was away to inforce my idea that it could stop the majority of the drunkeness aboard boats. At all boat launches there should be a coast guard or someone who is quailfied to see that the have sporatic checking of the boats heading into the water. Like the border crossings. If they look like that have already consumed booze they should not be allowed to put their boat in the water. If the “boatguard” see booze in their coolers then they get a warning and their booze poured out. They have lots of policing at beaches, maybe they do a random boat ramp checks around Vancouver parks. This would also stop the young ones who boat to places that they can cliff dive from. I know through my kids that they are lots of places that are boat accessible only for cliff diving.
    In conclusion if they are inspected daily and at popular boat launching areas, the boaters would get fines if they don’t boat safely. Hit them in their pockets. It hurts more that way. Also if caught with illegal things in boat they will have to pay an insurance premium that would go towards education to the younger crowds about life jackets and such.

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