Water safety awareness event held in Penticton after drowning death

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WATCH ABOVE: As summer weather makes a return, search and rescue groups are preaching water safety. There was a close call on Okanagan Lake Friday and a few weeks ago, a man drowned in Skaha Lake. It was near the site of that tragedy in Penticton that a safety event was held on Saturday. Neetu Garcha reports. – Jul 23, 2016

Search and rescue groups are out to educate the public about safety outdoors and an awareness event in Penticton on Saturday focused on safety on the water.

To mark the final day of drowning prevention week, Adventure Smart, which is a national program, held an event at Skaha Beach to teach people about paddle boarding safety tips.

“We are doing prevention education in order to reduce the number of call outs on behalf of search and rescue,” Adventure Smart Educator Melissa Goertzen said.

A few weeks ago, there was an accidental drowning on Skaha Lake, killing a 33-year-old man.

READ MORE: Paddle boarder drowns on Skaha Lake

The owner of a Penticton paddle board rental shop said the man didn’t rent the board from her, but she saw it happen.

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“His board went flying down the lake and in that moment, you just grab your life jacket, your leash and your paddle and you go out,” owner of Glow SUP Adventures, Darcey Godfrey said.

“We saw him go under and we looked and we looked and the water was dark and we didn’t find him.”

Godfrey said the preventable incident changed her life.

“I’ve sort of become the person on the beach when I see people go out, I say ‘hi, excuse me, do you want to borrow a leash? Do you want to borrow a life jacket?’ And to my amazement, people say no,” Godfrey said.

That’s why Adventure Smart is out raising awareness, so that people get the message.

They’re teaching the three T’s: trip plan, tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back and take essentials with you.

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