Campaign underway to prevent drownings in Alberta – Edmonton

EDMONTON — Summer is in full swing and that makes Alberta beaches and rivers a popular destination. But it’s also a time when drownings tend to spike.

In July alone, six Albertans drowned. The latest case was a 53-year-old Drumheller man who drowned while swimming off the coast of Oregon on Tuesday.

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Last week in Edmonton, a Devon man was found dead in the North Saskatchewan River where he was caught in the undercurrent and pulled away.

In an effort to raise awareness about water safety, Alberta Centre for Injury Control and Research — along with the Lifesaving Society — is marking National Drowning Prevention Week by running a beach towel campaign.

Beach towels will be handed out to swimmers with the message: “before you think only other swimmers drown, have a word with yourself.”

“Drowning is tragic. It can happen suddenly and silently,” explained Barbara Costache with Lifesaving Society Alberta and Northwest Territories.

READ MORE: What parents need to know about secondary drowning

“Albertans need to have a word with themselves and know that yes, they too can drown.”

According to the Lifesaving Society, 21 people drowned in 2013. Of those, 27 per cent died while swimming. The society also found that 80 percent of all drowning victims last year were male.

“Males are the group that takes more risk,” explained Kathy Belton associate director for ACICR. “Women seem to be more cautious.”

READ MORE: Lifesaving tips to prevent drowning deaths

The Beach Towel Campaign focuses on two key messages that could prevent drowning and save lives:

    Wear a life jacket, especially when boating and doing other recreational activities in the water.Be actively supervising children and to be within arm’s reach at all times.

ACICR and the Lifesaving society want to stress that drowning is preventable. With the campaign, they hope to bring awareness to the dangers that exist to make sure your stay safe while enjoying your time at the beach.