Media Contacts

Andy Watson

Manager, Strategic Communications
BC Coroners Service
250 356-9253

Dale Miller

Executive Director
Lifesaving Society – BC and Yukon
604 299-5450 or 604 341-7475 (cell)

Canadian Red Cross

BC and Yukon Media Line: 604 709-6747
National Media Line: 1 877 599-9602


Facts about water safety
  • Almost two-thirds of the deaths occur between May and September each year.
  • Three in every four deaths involve a male and people aged 20-34 account for 26% of water-related deaths.
  • More than one-third of the deaths occur in lakes or ponds.
  • In any small craft, wear a properly-fitted personal floatation device (PFD) at all times when on the water. Having one in the boat is not sufficient as immersions from boats are typically unintentional and in as many as 70% of boating incidents, the person becomes separated from the boat.
  • Children, non-swimmers and weak swimmers should also wear a PFD when wading or playing in the water at a river or lakeside.
  • Do not mix alcohol with boating, swimming or other recreational water activities. A study published in the Injury Prevention journal suggests that someone with a blood-alcohol level of 0.10 has about 10 times the risk of drowning during boating and that even a small amount of alcohol can increase the risk as a result of impaired co-ordination and judgment. Impairment is illegal for someone driving a boat, but it is also a risk for passengers who are more likely to fall into the water. Impairment by alcohol or drugs is also often a contributing factor in cases in which someone has accidentally fallen into water from shore.
  • Be aware of the water conditions where activities are being planned. Check the weather forecast before heading out and also do a visual inspection of the area. Do not head down a river without being aware of the water conditions further downstream. If there are warning signs posted, obey them.
  • If hosting visitors from another province or country, ensure that they are informed about the conditions that prevail in the lake or river being visited. Warn them about steep drop-offs, rapids, currents, cold water and any other hazards.
  • Always supervise children anywhere near water. Pre-school-aged children can drown in only a few centimetres of water and drowning is often silent. Young children should be within arm’s reach of a responsible adult. Swimming ability does not replace the need to supervise children around the water as their decision-making skills are still in development.
  • Never dive into unknown waters. Unexpectedly shallow water or hidden obstacles underwater can easily prove fatal. Diving from cliffs or from other great heights is exceptionally risky.
  • Never swim alone. Always have a buddy and keep an eye out for each other.