Here are some water-safety best practices to consider when enjoying recreational activities on the water in Cowichan.
- All recreational boaters, including paddlers, should wear a properly fitted personal floatation device (PFD). Children, non-swimmers and weak swimmers should wear a PFD anytime they are in or near the water.
- Visitors to B.C. should understand the possible dangers in or near B.C.’s lakes and rivers. These include sudden drop-offs into deep water; unexpected, underwater obstacles; and unstable or slippery rock edges above cliffs and waterfalls. Waters in B.C. are also frequently much colder than in other countries or provinces. If you are hosting, someone from out of town, be sure to warn them of these potential hazards.
- Avoid consuming alcohol when swimming, boating or performing any water-based activity. Impairment greatly increases the chances of an accidental drowning.
- Be aware of the water conditions where you are planning your activities. Check the weather forecast before heading out, and also do a visual inspection of the area. Do not head down a river without being aware of the water conditions further downstream. If there are warning signs posted, obey them.
- Never dive into unknown waters. Unexpectedly shallow water, or hidden obstacles underwater, can easily prove fatal. Diving from cliffs or from other great heights is exceptionally risky.
- Never swim alone. Always have a buddy and keep an eye out for each other.
PreparedBC is British Columbia’s one-stop shop for disaster readiness information. For tips on how to prepare an emergency plan and what to include in an emergency kit, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/PreparedBC
AdventureSmart is a national program dedicated to encouraging Canadians and visitors to Canada to ”Get informed and go outdoors”. AdventureSmart balances key safety messages with an individual’s responsibility for safety; encouraging the public to obtain the knowledge, skills and equipment necessary for them to enjoy their outdoor pursuits.
Remember to Leave No Trace when visiting Cowichan’s waterways. Please dispose of your garbage in proper receptacles and separate your recycling. Littering fines are as much as $2,000.