Members of Penticton and District Search and Rescue combed an area of Okanagan Lake near Naramata in October looking for the body of a man who fell overboard. It's the last drowning near Penticton to which the group has responded.

Members of Penticton and District Search and Rescue combed an area of Okanagan Lake near Naramata in October looking for the body of a man who fell overboard. It's the last drowning near Penticton to which the group has responded.

Coroners sound alarm about drownings

New campaign urged to educate young men about risks during prelude to what's been a mercifully slow start to drowning season near Penticton

Special efforts should be made to educate young men about drowning prevention, a B.C. Coroners Service review panel recommended following a special investigation.

Experts probed the deaths of 35 young people who drowned between 2007 and 2013 and found that nearly three-quarters of the victims were males between 15 and 19 years in age. A third of the cases involved drugs or alcohol.

“In order to address the risk of drowning in B.C., it is essential that water safety and drowning prevention messaging target parents and male youth specifically,” concluded the report, which recommended several agencies work together on the project.

One of the agencies mentioned, the B.C.-Yukon branch of the Lifesaving Society, is in the early stages of developing a plan to act on the recommendation.

“Certainly there have been other campaigns that have been successful, such as (against) drinking and driving, so I think we can take lessons from other campaigns to see what’s going to work for drowning prevention,” said Dale Miller, the society’s executive director.

Miller said the heightened drowning risk for young men was already well known and is due to a combination of factors.

“It’s an overestimation of their swimming abilities, it’s an underestimation of the risk that they’re taking, and you combine that will alcohol in many situations, and, unfortunately, that’s a dangerous mix,” he explained.

“There’s definitely a need to look at how we can get to them and hopefully change their behaviours.”

The society recorded 11 drowning deaths in B.C. through May and June, down from an average of 16 during that same period in each of the past four years.

Penticton and District Search and Rescue spokesman Randy Brown said his group has yet to respond to a nearby drowning during this year’s outdoor recreation season.

“This year it has been kind of down, because the weather hasn’t been all that good,” he said.

The team did, however, travel to Princeton to help recover the body of a 23-year-old man who drowned in the Similkameen River in mid-June.

Brown reminded people to look after the little details surrounding their personal safety while on the water

“Our message is to make sure everybody has a personal floatation device. The other thing is to make sure they have a heaving line so if somebody’s in distress they have some way of throwing a rope out to the them,” he said.

“We’re always prepared to go out and assist,” Brown added, “but we get called a lot of times when events turn tragic.”

The coroners’ review also recommended municipalities adopt uniform rules to require homeowners to install four-sided fencing around pools “to prevent young children from gaining access to backyard pools, the place where they are most at risk.”

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

The City of Penticton is beginning plans to revitalize its north entrance on Highway 97. (Jesse Day - Western News)
Penticton reviewing ideas on how to make the city’s north gateway more vibrant

The city has plans to redevelop the area into a welcoming and attractive entrance

People decided to tag Skaha Bluffs rocks which the Ministry has to go in and now clean up. (Facebook)
Bluffs at popular Penticton rock climbing park defaced

Ministry of Environment is going to clean it up

A portion of the Kettle Valley Railway Trail near Naramata will be closed temporarily for upgrade work, including paving. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Upgrades plannned for trail near Naramata

Surface improvement work will mean temporary trail closure

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Skaha Bluffs climbing spots. (Monique Tamminga)
New parking lot and picnic area coming to Penticton’s Skaha Bluffs

The city will turn the access point at Crow Place into a parking and picnic area

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

Vernon Courthouse. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Sentencing delayed in North Okanagan child pornography case

Man who pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography will have new sentence date fixed next week

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Phil McLachlan/(Black Press Media
Man shot at Kamloops shopping centre

The man is believed to be in stable condition

Most Read