Charlottetown, PE – With over eleven hundred kilometers of shoreline, water and swimming related activities are an important
part of our Island culture. During the summer months, our beaches and waterways are one of the most popular attractions for Islanders and visitors.
The Lifesaving Society PEI Branch is pleased to report that preliminary findings indicate that no drownings occurred in PEI during 2015. Final statistics are anticipated from the Office of the Chief Coroner, at a later date.
In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported the seriousness of drowning as a global public health issue:
- Drowning claims an estimated 372,000 lives annually;
- Drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury/death;
- Children, males and individuals with increased access to water are most at risk of drowning; and
- Alcohol or drug use, near or in the water, is a significant factor associated with increased risk of drowning.
Adam Ross, President for the PEI Branch of Lifesaving Society reports that “In 2015, the Lifesaving Society certified 92 National Lifeguards in Prince Edward Island. A lifeguard’s primary role is to prevent incidents from happening. Lifeguards right across our province work on pool decks and on beaches preventing incidents from occurring, and this number (zero drownings in 2015) speaks to their dedication prevention efforts”.
Ross adds, “Teaching Islanders how to swim is a necessity since we live on an Island. Not only are the physical swimming skills important, but teaching Islanders to be WaterSmartTM is also a key objective of the Lifesaving Society. Education messages include the importance of children being within arms reach of an adult around water, swimming with a buddy, and wearing a PFD (Personal Floatation Device).”
Ross also reminds Islanders that drowning can occur at any time of the year, including during winter months. The Lifesaving Society cautions that any activities in on and around ice can be just as hazardous as swimming during the summer months:
“As we move into the winter months, there is still a risk of drowning present. Activities in, on and around ice can be just as high risk as swimming at a beach. Islanders should be sure to check the thickness of ice before venturing out. Snowmobiles require at least five inches of clear solid ice,” says Ross. “Islanders are encouraged to visit our website [www.lifesavingsocietypei.ca] for plenty of WaterSmartTM tips for being safe in, on and around water year round.”
Annually, 1,200,000 Canadians participate in the Lifesaving Society swimming, lifesaving, lifeguard, first aid and leadership training programs. As Canada’s lifeguarding experts, we set the standards for professional lifeguard training and certify Canada’s National Lifeguards.
President, Lifesaving Society (PEI Branch)