B.C. officials are reminding residents about long weekend water safety after ambulance crews took two people to hospital from a popular Victoria area beach Wednesday.
B.C. Emergency Health Services said three ambulances and a supervisor responded to an incident at Thetis Lake Regional Park around 3:40 p.m. May 17 where they cared for two patients before transporting them to hospital. Neither BCEHS nor the View Royal Fire Department could provide further details.
But with the long weekend nearly here and warm weather likely to see more people flock to beaches, a spokesperson with BCEHS said the ambulance service wants people to be more prepared.
“If you are going to be on a boat, it’s the same rules as driving a car,” Brian Twaites said. “You don’t want to be distracted with your phone out on the water, you don’t want to be too tired … and you should have a first aid kit on board, a full tank of gas, fire extinguisher, water and non-perishable foods in case you have a breakdown. Most important has to be personal flotation devices. You have to make sure you have enough for everybody on board, and you really have them on because they really are life-saving.”
Twaites said similar advice also applies to paddle sports, where it is even more important to wear PFDs while out on the water.
Wearing sunscreen and staying hydrated is also highly recommended when around water, as is being aware of the water conditions. At this time of year, water levels can be high with strong currents, and water temperatures are generally cooler than many might expect.
No matter what you are doing around water, he said it is valuable to know how to swim.
“If you are going to be involved in water sports, swimming is a very good life skill to have,” said Twaites. “Swimming lessons for youngsters are so important, and if you are going to be out, be sure to be aware of the waterways you are going to be in.”