Everyone thinks that they can swim well. But when it comes to a serious situation you aren’t thinking clearly and the misjudgements you make can mean life and death. There is a massive difference between swimming in a warm, indoor pool and a cold, open body of water. So we think that you should know the truth and the facts about real life water safety.
The dangers of water include:
- It is very cold
- There may be hidden currents
- It can be difficult to get out (steep slimy banks)
- It can be deep
- There may be hidden rubbish, e.g. shopping trolleys, broken glass
- There are no lifeguards
- It is difficult to estimate depth
- It may be polluted and may make you ill
Special flags and notices may warn you of danger. Know what the signs mean and do what they tell you.
Learn about water safety signs and the flags you should look out for on the beach.
Children should always go with an adult, not by themselves because an adult can point out dangers or help is somebody gets into trouble.
Water death facts
- One quarter of drowning victims were swimmers.
- Young children 2 to 4 years of age have a higher risk of drowning than any other age group. Most of these children are alone and playing near water when they fell in and drowned.
- The backyard swimming pool is the riskiest site for these youngsters.
- Four out of every ten drowning’s happen within two meters of shore or the pool side. And one-quarter happen in shallow water one meter deep or less.
- One-third of water-related deaths occur after dark, including fatal boating collisions and in Canada e.g. snowmobiling drowning’s.
- In Finland e.g. yearly over 50 accidents occur while driving over ice that is too thin to support the car.
- Twenty percent of all drowning’s occur at private homes.
- Few victims in boating deaths were wearing a life jacket and one-quarter do not even have a life jacket in the boat.
- Approximately 3,000 people worldwide become partially or completely paralyzed each year as a result of breaking their necks. Most of these injuries occur while diving into shallow water.
- The ILS estimates that over 1,000,000 rescues are made each year in the World by lifesavers and lifeguards certified in the member federation’s training programmes’.
By Talia and Ailsa