Today, July 25th, is World Drowning Prevention Day and organizations around the globe are chiming in to try and help prevent one of the leading cause of death from people aged 1 to 24.

Locally, Stacey Grocholski, executive director at the Lifesaving Society Manitoba, talked with PortageOnline about the day's importance.

"We really, really want to focus in on some tips and some ways to help reduce drowning for all of Manitoba, Canadians and globally."

Grocholski outlines a few things to keep in mind:

  • Taking a lifesaving society swim to survive course or swimming lessons 
  • Wearing a properly-fitted life jacket  
  • Refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages while participating in aquatic activities 
  • And ensuring that children are under the direct supervision of an adult when around the water 

The executive director has some advice if you do find yourself in a jam in the open and are struggling.

"Get your breathing under control," says Grocholski. "Focus on where you are. A lot of people are typically close to safety within 15 meters of safety. Always swim with a buddy. That's what we say: always swim with a buddy and ensure that you know somebody is there with you."

She notes that there is an average of over 400 drownings in Canada each year, with around 22 of those coming from Manitoba.

Lastly, Grocholski says that the Lifesaving Society Manitoba wants people to ensure everyone is focusing on one of the safety precautions above.

"Whether it's wearing a life jacket, taking swimming lessons, keeping your children within arm's reach, boating sober--that kind of thing-- that's what we really want to emphasize. Just do one thing, and that could save your life."