Drowning rates down in the Maritimes
Peak drowning season is in the coming four weeks
The number of people drowning in the Maritimes is falling, but the rates are not the same in all three provinces.
The latest Maritimes Drowning Report from the Lifesaving Society Canada says 153 people drowned in the Maritimes from 2007-11, which represents an 11 per cent drop in the drowning rate when compared to 2002-2006.
The best news in the report came from Prince Edward Island, where the number of people who drowned was cut almost in half, from 13 to 7. The rates in New Brunswick were the same as the Maritime averages, and the rate in Nova Scotia did not change.
Halbert Pratt, president of the Lifesaving Society of P.E.I., would like to see those rates stay down. He said the coming four weeks are peak drowning season.
"Play it safe, enjoy the summer, swim with a buddy and if you're getting into some place where you should be wearing a lifejacket by all means do," said Pratt.
That advice is especially important for young men. While parents are understandably careful with their children, it is men between the ages of 25 and 29 who are most likely to drown, with rates more than double those for children. Young men in the Maritimes are also more likely to drown than young men in other parts of Canada.
The report identified some of the some of the greatest risk factors for drowning.
- Not being able to swim
- Swimming alone
- Alcohol consumption
- Not wearing a life jacket when appropriate
The Lifesaving Society does not have data beyond 2011, but an official with the P.E.I government said there was just one drowning in the province last year.