Kinsmen Water Park in Prince Albert stresses safety

The Kinsmen Water Park in Prince Albert is teaching people about staying safe on the water this week, part of National Drowning Prevention Week.
Youngsters at the Kinsmen Water Park in Prince Albert watch intently during a life saving demonstration, part of National Drowning Prevention Week. (Ryan Pilon/CBC)

The Kinsmen Water Park in Prince Albert is teaching people about staying safe on the water this week, part of National Drowning Prevention Week, a promotion of the Lifesaving Society.

According to the latest figures from the Red Cross, more than 500 people die in water-related incidents in Canada every year with 60 per cent of deaths happening in the summer months.

The focus of Drowning Prevention Week is to educate people about water safety. On Wednesday, staff at the water park did a demonstration on lifesaving. More activities are planned for the rest of the week.

Some basic information about water safety can make a big difference, Lauren Haubrich, aquatic manager at the park, explained.

For instance, simply recognizing that someone is in distress can be important.

"Someone who's drowning, if they are a non-swimmer, they aren't going to be yelling for help," Haubrich said. "Sometimes the public thinks that's what they're listening for."

Instead, Haubrich explained, the person in distress usually exhibits a couple of tell-tale signs..

"If someone falls in and they can't swim, it looks like they're climbing the ladder," she said. "They aren't going to be yelling for help, and their eyes are really, really wide."

Safety on water craft, Haubrich noted, begins with everyone wearing a PFD, or personal flotation device.

"Lots of people think that they just have to put their kids in PFDs," she said. "They forget that ... even if they are a good swimmer [they could be in danger of drowning]. I'm a good swimmer, but if I fall off a boat and hit my head I can't swim if I'm unconscious."

Park users agree on safety

People at the water park Wednesday agreed that safety around the water is vital.

"When we go to the water, we just make sure the kids are not left alone," Audrey Harvey told CBC News. "You're always watching them, you're always with them. Children should never be left alone by water."

Another water park user, Linda Goodwin, says she's alert about water safety as well.

"The little toddlers have swimming vests on," she said. "The older kids, whatever level they're at, they can go not too far away from me so I can see and not over their heads."

With files from CBC's Ryan Pilon

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