Manitoba lifesaving society warns of potential increase in drownings amid pandemic

Dr. Christopher Love, the safety management coordinator for the Lifesaving Society of Manitoba.
Dr. Christopher Love, the safety management coordinator for the Lifesaving Society of Manitoba. Marek Tkach / Global News

A warning is being given to boaters and swimmers across the province by the Lifesaving Society of Manitoba.

“With COVID-19, there’s been a huge change to what everybody is doing here in the province and across the country and that’s going to change trends for how people use water this year,” said Dr. Christopher Love, the society’s safety management coordinator.

READ MORE: 1 dead, 1 missing after boat flips on Lake Winnipeg

Love is reminding Manitobans to be extra vigilant while out on the water this summer, taking the impact of coronavirus safety measures into account.

He cited mass closures of swimming facilities causing people to swim in places they aren’t used to as the primary reason for concern.

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He says that means swimming with a buddy from your household whenever possible, especially since social distancing and park closures might mean there are fewer people out on the water who would otherwise help in an emergency.

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He’s also encouraging lake and pool-goers to read up on their location of choice, the weather conditions and the proper equipment that’s necessary for a safe experience in the water.

READ MORE: RCMP boats keeping Manitoba waters safe

“We are certainly concerned for this year that there could be an increase in drowning injuries and drowning deaths because of that fact that many of the areas that people normally swim, they are not able to attend right now,” says Love.

Love says only one out of every three drowning incidents in Manitoba actually reaches the media.

An average of 22 people in the province lose their lives each year as a result of drowning.

Lifesaving Society Manitoba
Lifesaving Society Manitoba