When engaging in recreational activities on the water, assess carefully whether you need a PFD. (submitted)

Editorial: Dying not the way you want to make the front page

The fact is, it doesn’t matter how good a swimmer you are if you’re unconscious.

We seem to cover at least one every year.

We hope the story in Wednesday’s Citizen about the woman who died while tubing on the Cowichan River will be the last drowning we have to report on this summer, but it’s far from assured.

You can help with that.

Personal flotation devices, or lifejackets, are seen by many as just for the kids who haven’t learned to swim yet. We’re not saying everyone needs to wear one every time they go swimming, but when you’re boating you should wear one, no ifs, ands or buts, and when you’re doing other recreational activities on the water, you should assess very carefully whether you should put one on, just in case.

But you’re a great swimmer, you argue, have been doing it for years and you’re still here.

The fact is, it doesn’t matter how good a swimmer you are if you’re unconscious. If you’ve been knocked out and you’re not wearing a lifejacket, you will drown without emergency intervention. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been tubing the river since your were a kid and been knocked off your tube dozens of times before with no serious consequences. It just takes that one rock in the wrong place. Ditto when you head out on your boat like you do every summer. Or your paddleboard, or in your kayak or on your water skis.

Is there a chance something can hit you in the head? Put on a PFD.

Want to challenge some of the tougher parts of the river? Put on a PFD.

Worry less about looking awesome in your bikini or board shorts and more about coming out of the water alive.

There are even less bulky options these days than you may remember from years gone by. You take your safety into your own hands when you head out on the water. Be smart about it.

Dying is not the way you want to make the front page of the paper.

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