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Misunderstandings about drownings can be dangerous.

Drownings in Canada most common among young men

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Friday, July 22, 2016, 7:29 PM - Experts say mid-to-late July is peak time for drownings in Canada and a new report has pinpointed which segment of society is most at risk.

Historically, the an average of 500 people drown in Canada each year. That number was down in 2014 and 2015 but drowning remains prevalent, with 308 and 314 deaths respectively, CTV reports.

The good news? Cases involving children have fallen over the past few years, likely due to public education and increased awareness.

People aged 50 and 65+ are at a heightened risk, which some have linked to boating without life jackets.

Still, data shows young swimmers -- especially males -- are most vulnerable, with more than 80 per cent of all Canadians drowned in a recent sample occurring among young men.

Experts say it's because this group is most likely to jump into the water after dark or mix alcohol with swimming.

Water safety

In many cases, drowning is preventable. Here are a few tips to stay safe on the water:

  • Never swim alone.
  • Keep a (fully charged) phone close by. 
  • Wear a life jacket when boating, using a sea-doo or  water-skiing. 
  • Educate yourself: Consider CPR training and learn about swimming techniques that minimize the risk of drowning.
  • Learn what drowning looks like. Drowning victims don't always trash in the water and scream for help -- many will struggle silently while trying to grab something to keep them afloat. If you suspect someone is drowning, ask if they need help. If they don't respond, call for assistance. 
  • If you don't know how to swim, take lessons before heading into the water.

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