Following the tragic death of a Pickering man at Sherkson Shores Beach yesterday emergency officials in Port Colborne are urging people to understand the risks before heading into the waters.
emma wheeler knows the risks when she goes to the beach.
“When I was at my friends cottage when I was younger I actually got caught in an undertow.”
Scary moments but she learned what to do when it happens.
“I do know not to panic, not to fight against it and just to kind of relax and think through the situation”
The summer season is just beginning, thousands of people will flock to the beach and because of that safety officers are urging you to be prepared before you head out.
“Have your PFD, don’t mix alcohol, be with friends and family, don’t be alone and know the waters, know the hazards and know the area.”
The safety message comes after a Pickering man died yesterday at Sherkston Shores Beach. He was on a floatation device and got caught in an undertow and separated from the device – about 500 yards from shore and in about 15 feet of water.
“Some people don’t understand, they like to play in the waves. They don’t understand the dangers of playing in the waves. Quite frankly if it’s high and wavy you’re going to have a significant undertow.”
Port Colborne Marine Auxiliary Rescue had a busy year last year.
“We were tasked out 46 times last year and already this year we’ve been called out 7 times.”
So…What do you do if you find yourself in trouble?
“The theory is, if you relax in an undertow you’ll come back to the surface. Most people fight the fact that they are pulled under which is a natural reaction and normally they get caught up and can’t get back to the surface.”
There is an added risk at some beaches along Lake Erie.
“There is actually no one on site who is responsible for swimmers so the onus is on you as the public when you come down to be responsible for yourselves and know your conditions.”
It’s also a good idea to know what to expect weatherwise. It may feel warm outside but the water is still quite cold. And never leave children unattended.