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The numbers don’t lie.

Between 2008 and 2016, accidental drowning deaths in BC have seen a steady decline over the years.

During that 8 year span,  there were a total of 66 accidental drowning deaths in Northern BC.

Of the 666 total recorded deaths in BC, the Northern portion of BC ranks last amongst accidental drowning fatalities in the Province.

The stats of this report may surprise some, but not many.

  • Fatal drownings were most common in the summer months, peaking at an average of 13.6 deaths per year in August.
  • 79.6% of decedents were male, and 20.4% were female.
  • 19-29-year-olds accounted for the largest proportion of deaths (23.7%), followed by 50-59-year-olds (17.0%)
  • Boating (21.8%), swimming (16.8%), and falls into water (16.5%) were the three activities/contexts in which drownings were most likely to occur.
  • Most deaths occurred in lakes/ponds (30.9%), rivers/creeks (30.0%), or the ocean (20.3%)

Project Manager at the BC Life Saving Society, Cheryl Sibany, says it’s never a bad time to share this sort of message with residents, as being aware is the most effective tool when dealing with water.

“It’s always important to get the message out, especially with the school year ending and summertime now officially underway. We’re expecting a hot summer and people need to be mindful of the risks around them. There’s no question that recreating on water is a big part of the Bulkley Valley and Lakes District, we just want people to return home safely from whatever their ventures may be.”

Sibany says we can reduce these numbers even further in Northern BC by simply using common sense.

“It’s ironic because common sense really isn’t that common nowadays. The sad thing is we look at these accidents or drownings and most of them are preventable. Either they didn’t know what they were doing at all in their environment or sadly they are familiar with that territory and chose to not use good judgment that day. If you want to go home to your family at the end of the day, be smart and be aware.”

Sibany finished by saying drugs and alcohol should never be apart of your itinerary when recreating on waterways. They only impair your judgment and not only put yourself at risk, but everyone around you as well.

The full report on accidental drowning deaths from the BC Coroners Service can be found here.