Water Safety and Awareness

Too many times this summer the news here in British Columbia has reported yet another drowning. The causes vary - bravado, alcohol or drugs, underestimating one's abilities and carelessness - often all of them rolled into one fatal conclusion.

I love the water. It began in my younger days when I spent many hours swimming competitively. I became a certified lifeguard and swimming instructor then enjoyed windsurfing and canoeing. To this day, I still swim and, whenever I get the chance to travel to a tropical location, I don snorkel gear and spend countless hours submersed in warm salt waters. Yet even with my many water-logged hours both in and on the water, I have a healthy respect for the conditions and for my abilities.

Over thirty years ago, I helped to perform a rescue involving an extremely inebriated young man who decided to dive into the water on a dark night. It is something I will never forget. He is lucky to be alive and it is something he will not forget, either.

Perhaps this near-tragedy would not have happened if he had a healthier respect for the water. Regardless, I encourage parents to not only enroll their children in swimming lessons, but also in competitive swimming, if only for one season. The daily practice sessions will make them into strong and competent swimmers; skills which will be with them for a lifetime.

The same can be said of the emotional management (stress) skills I teach to children. They become well-equipped for their educational, recreational and work life. They'll develop skills that can change the flow of their lives. Contact me for a no-obligation chat to see how eight hours can make a lifetime of difference.

Finally, here is a powerful reminder from www.preventable.ca to stay alert when your children are playing in or near the water. When at the beach, be at the beach. Your phone can wait - being fully involved in your children's lives cannot. The memories you make at the beach should be positive, not tragic.

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