Thursday, July 24, 2014

Angel In The Morning

Sand angels - photo by Junie Quiroga

The other morning as I passed the lifeguard chair in English Bay I noticed the Life Saving Society of BC & Yukon were engaged in a little publicity effort to highlight the need for folks to learn how to swim.  It's something they do every year as part of National Drowning Prevention Week.  To highlight this year's message 75 sand angels were being laid to rest on the beach, one for each person who drowned in B.C. waters last year.

Angels of the Water - photo by Junie Quiroga 

The Life Saving Society is the organization that has been training and certifying lifeguards for all public pools and beaches since 1911 (I got my National Lifeguard Service back in 1985) and they also offer a number of lifesaving and first aid courses.  But they wouldn't even need to exist if people just took swimming lessons, something the Red Cross has been offering for more than 60 years and who were the folks who taught me to swim and certify me as an instructor. There was no need for 75 people to drown in B.C. last year, it was all so preventable.

Learn To Swim 2011 "tombstones"

Every year they have a National Drowning Prevention Week that falls in the middle of summer when most people are near the water in either the ocean or a lake. In 2011 they put up 67 tombstones on the beach in English Bay to illustrate the number of people who drowned the previous year but unfortunately the trend is not improving. Many of these drownings were a result of boating accidents, again something that could easily have be prevented if the non-swimmers had simply worn a life-jacket.

Vancouver's first lifeguard Joe Fortes
With our proximity to the ocean it's no surprise that "learn to swim" programs have been around since Vancouver came into existence.  Having a lifeguard around is always nice but it's not really something you can always count on, especially if you go out early like I do. "An ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure" the old saying goes, and if people would just take the time to learn to swim they would not only make their life safer but also a lot more enjoyable as it is such a pleasant form of exercise. No need to meet the angels in the morning any sooner than necessary.

Click on the link below to check out my earlier blog post "Swim Don't Walk" for more information.

Empty lifeguard chair & slide - photo by Junie Quiroga

1 comment:

  1. An excellent article and certainly brings home the fact that learning to swim AND respect the ocean should be installed in our brains as children. Well done.