Are you playing safe?
The finding that Jeremiah Perry, the young man who recently drowned during a trip to Algonquin Park, failed to pass his mandatory swimming test has made me think about how many of us take our life by the lake for granted.
I spend a great deal of time on and near the water and am constantly amazed at the number of people who choose not to wear life jackets and more importantly, do not encourage their children to do so. I know, I have heard all the logic – “this lake isn’t very deep, I am a good swimmer, I am right here with my son/daughter…” During the hazy, lazy days of summer, it is all too easy to relax to the point of being dangerous, so while I don’t want to be a spoil sport, let’s all just remember some basic water safety.
- I personally consider myself to be an excellent swimmer and I spend a lot of time in a canoe, however, a number of years back I flipped my canoe in early November and the cold water completely stunned me. I was fortunate that the water was very shallow and I could stand as I certainly could not think to swim when I first went in, the shock simply overwhelmed me. Take that one step further and think what happens if you were hit with that boat or canoe as you go in? These days, there is no reason not to wear a Personal Flotation Device, they are comfortable and fashionable if you choose and will save your life!
- Of course, the first line of protection is still learning to swim. Aside from being great exercise and good fun, living in this region swimming should be considered a life skill not only for ourselves, but those around us. That being said, remember that if your kids are not strong swimmers, they should be within arms’ reach at all times or wearing a PFD. Think about how difficult it is to move through water quickly, even a short distance can prove too far so keep your children safe at all times.
- And last but not least is that daredevil elephant in the room…. Cliff and bridge diving. Don’t get me wrong, I have leapt from some heights in my younger days, including the 10m diving board, but unless you know the exact water conditions it is not safe. Even in a controlled environment like the pool, landing wrong will lead to serious concerns and potential harm, so think before you leap.
All that being said, let’s all get out and enjoy what the Kawartha Lakes have to offer but let’s be safe doing it.
Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT
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