Nova Scotia

Halifax man warns drowning can occur within minutes or seconds

A Halifax man is speaking out about his near drowning last weekend, hoping to prevent others from getting in trouble while enjoying the water.

'It all went really wrong, really fast'

Trevor Adams describes how he nearly drowned during a swim on Ponhook Lake in Queens County last week. (CBC)

A Halifax man is speaking out about his near drowning last weekend, hoping to prevent others from getting in trouble while enjoying the water.

"It all went really wrong, really fast and it went from me swimming into shore, within a span of a couple seconds to really feeling like I was fighting for my life," Trevor Adams said Tuesday.

Adams spent many summers swimming in Ponhook Lake in Queens County.

He was there last weekend, enjoying the tranquility of the lake on a floating chair, when he decided to swim back to shore.

"As I was trying to make my way back to shore, I got  a charley horse. At the same time, my face went down and I got a mouth of water and then I got another."

Panicked and was struggling

Adams said he panicked and was struggling, and unable to think clearly. Thankfully his wife Tammy saw he was in trouble and told him to grab the floating chair.

"If Tammy hadn't been there to get my attention... and tell me what I needed to know, my family would be planning a funeral today, I'm sure," Adams said.

Lifeguard trainer Paul D'Eon advises swimmers to be extra cautious now that hurricane season is here. (CBC)

Paul D'Eon, director of the Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service, said it doesn't take long for a swimmer to get into trouble.

"People, particularly children, can slip under the water anywhere between 20 and 30 seconds. They'll struggle and adults, most adults will struggle up to a minute so it happens very quickly and often without warning," he said.

D'Eon has been teaching life-saving techniques for 40 years. He says there are many more near misses than drownings. 

Fatigue can cause drowning

He said people often don't call for help because they're just trying to breathe.

'If you haven't swam for awhile, don't go out of your depth. Overestimating ability and using new muscles and getting into a situation where you're fatigued is often times the cause of drowning."

He also advised swimmers to be cautious of big waves and strong currents as hurricane season is now here.

Adams now knows how quickly things can go wrong.

He's urging people to always have some sort of flotation device nearby and no matter what your age, have someone on shore watching you.

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