"Alcohol and Water - A potentially deadly combination especially if you are Male" reports Lifesaving Society as part of National Drowning Prevention Week



    OTTAWA, July 23 /CNW Telbec/ - At a greater risk of drowning this summer
are males, between the ages of 18 and 34, who have been drinking alcohol and
are not wearing lifejackets while participating in recreational, on-water
activities reports the Lifesaving Society.
    "Alcohol and water are a potentially deadly combination, especially if
you are male. Alcohol involvement is twice as high among adult male victims
than that of women; and every summer lives are needlessly lost to alcohol
consumption and boating accidents," says Nicole Liddell, the Lifesaving
Society's National President-Elect.
    "Canadian drowning statistics demonstrate that over 80 percent of
Canadian drowning victims are male, and that those aged 18 - 34 are at highest
risk," adds Liddell.
    Even with the recent changes made to several provincial Highway Traffic
Acts providing law enforcement officers with the power to suspend the driver's
license, or lay criminal DUI charges against any power boat operator who is
found to be over the legal limit of .08 - many boaters still choose to put
themselves and others at risk on the water.
    According to the Ontario Provincial Police, marine fatalities in 2008 are
up 200 per cent over the same period last year in Ontario, with 12 people
dying in 10 incidents so far this year, up from four for the same period last
year. Seven of the 12 victims were not wearing a personal flotation device,
and alcohol was a contributing factor in three of the 10 fatal incidents.
    "It's ironic; the same people who would never drink and drive in their
automobiles often have no reservation about drinking and boating, and it is
this type of behavior that contributes to a higher number of drowning
fatalities," states Nicole.
    The Lifesaving Society urges all Canadians to be safe in and on the water
this summer and provides the following tips to boaters:

    
    Water Smart(TM) Tips to Help you Stay Safe when Boating

    1. Always wear a lifejacket! - Don't just have one - wear one both on
       deck and while the vessel is underway!

    2. Boat sober and ride sober - Remember that even one drink can dull your
       senses, slow your reaction time, and impair your judgment!

    3. Get the Pleasure Craft Operator Card - Make sure you have your
       Pleasure Craft Operators Card (PCOC) by September 2009 ... to help you
       know the boating "rules of the road", how to respond in a boating
       emergency and how to operate your pleasure craft safely.

    4. Ensure that you have the following items in your boat, it's now the
       law:

       a) One approved lifejacket - or - one approved Personal Flotation
          Device (PFD) of the appropriate size for each person on board.
          Flotation devices must now be the appropriate size for each person
          on board.
       b) One manual propelling device - or - one anchor with at least
          15 meters of rope or chain (approx. 50 feet). This replaces the
          requirement to carry two oars or two paddles.
       c) One bailer - or - one manual pump with sufficient hose to pump
          water from the bilge over the side of the vessel.
       d) Navigation lights must meet applicable standards if the pleasure
          craft is to be operated after sunset or before sunrise or in
          periods of restricted visibility.
       e) A sound signaling device (can be a pealess whistle) - or - a sound
          signaling appliance.
       f) One Class 5BC fire extinguisher if the vessel is equipped with a
          fuel-burning cooking, heating, refrigerating appliance or a fixed
          fuel tank of any size. The fire extinguisher must now be rated for
          both "B" (combustible liquids) and "C" (electrical) fires.
       g) A buoyant heaving line that is at least 15 m long (approx. 50 ft).

    5. Be aware of weather changes and the risks associated with cold water.
       Make sure you inform someone of your destination and expected time of
       return.

    6. Drive powerboats responsibly - Look before you act, stay low, drive at
       moderate speeds, and use proper lights after dark.

    National Drowning Prevention Week is an annual, public education and
drowning prevention initiative of the Lifesaving Society with the goal of
reducing the number of water related fatalities and near drowning incidents
through the promotion of key water safe messages, including:

    Monday July 21, 2008    "400+ Drowning Deaths a Year Still Too Many"

    Tuesday July 22, 2008   "Children Among Those At Greatest Risk of
                             Drowning"

    Wednesday July 23, 2008 "Alcohol and Water a Potentially Deadly
                             Combination"

    Thursday July 24, 2008  "Lifesaving Society Celebrates 100 Years of
                             Saving Lives"

    Friday July 25, 2008    "Canada Post Releases Stamp Honoring Lifesaving
                             Society"
    

    For additional information on the Lifesaving Society and/or National
Drowning Prevention Week (July 19 - 27, 2008) please visit the Society's web
site at: www.lifesaving.ca

    About the Lifesaving Society:

    The Lifesaving Society, Canada's lifeguarding experts for the past 100
years, is a national, volunteer organization and registered charity whose
mandate is drowning prevention. The Society's programs include: Learn to Swim,
Lifesaving, Lifesaving Sport, Water Smart(R) Public Education, Research, First
Aid and Boating. The Lifesaving Society remains the leader in lifeguard
training, and in 2008 will provide training and certification to over 500,000
nationally.




For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview: Mr. Simon Rolfe,
Manager of In-House Marketing Projects, Lifesaving Society National Office,
(613) 746-5694 ext 27, srolfe@lifesaving.ca, www.lifesaving.ca


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