I was interested to read the article I was sent regarding the proposed offering of life jackets for use while swimming, with the hopes that this might prevent drownings.
I was born and grew up at Sylvan, as a teenager I gave free swimming lessons to the youngsters and I was a lifeguard one summer. When I moved to Edmonton I became involved with teaching others to be water safety instructors, also a voluntary position.
Life jackets certainly have their place as safety equipment on boats (we have ten on ours), and for keeping small children safe around water. They are however not terribly useful for swimming, as their primary function is to keep the head above the water, thus placing the individual in the upright position. No one wishing to actually swim would want to wear one, as the best one could manage would be an ineffectual dog paddle.
Men, by their very nature don’t wish to appear incompetent, and their usual habit is to swim rapidly out to deep water. It is at this point panic, or some health crisis, is apt to occur. Unfortunately, it is not possible to prevent these crisis from happening.
Women, usually walk out to chest deep water, turn and swim parallel to shore, or swim back to shore. They are not trying to prove anything.
Supplying life jackets would not save the life of any men, because they won’t use them. Women would hate them if they actually want to swim.
Life jackets would be stolen within days, because while men won’t wear them, they have to have them on board if they have a boat. I fear there is a bit of larceny in most of us.
On another subject, could you let me know how to get your paper on line? I still know some folk there and would like to be able to pick it up. Sylvan is very special to me. Thanks.
Georgina Gartshore (nee Tooley)
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