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Stark warning for Cultus Lake boaters this weekend

An overturned boat aims to remind people this weekend of the dangers of mixing alcohol and boating.
An overturned boat aims to remind people this weekend of the dangers of mixing alcohol and boating.

When taking the boat out on the lake with a case of beer on a nice summer day, you’re probably not expecting to drown that day. Preventable, in partnership with Cultus Lake, the Red Cross and BC Hydro, is drawing attention to water safety this summer by reminding you to ‘have a word with yourself” before you head out on the water this summer. It will be drawing attention to this cause with overturned boat displays at Cultus Lake on the following weekends: June 29-July 1, and August 31-September 2.

Between 2006-2010, there were over 45 deaths from drowning and 200 injury hospitalizations from near drowning among BC’s children and youth (aged 1-24), alcohol was associated with 41% of drowning among Canadians aged 15 years and older, and 90 per cent of drowning deaths while boating are a result of not wearing a lifejacket or personal floatation device.

“Drownings can happen quickly, and often in situations where people least expect it,” says Michael Miller, Canadian Red Cross Water Safety Program. “With summer here now, we urge British Columbians to understand the risks when they are in the water, and also when they are on or near it. Being prepared could mean the difference between life and death.”

“BC Hydro encourages everyone to be safe around water. We operate 19 recreation areas on 16 reservoirs or rivers, and hydroelectric operations create special hazards for visitor safety. BC Hydro and Preventable urge everyone to avoid designated danger zones around water reservoirs, and obey posted signs,” says Mark Poweska, director of Generation Operations, BC Hydro.

Adds Dr. Pike, “95 per cent of all accidents are preventable and predictable, and our hope is that the overturned boats will capture peoples’ attention and remind them just how paramount water safety is this summer.”

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