Fifty-two Albertans drowned in 2017. Since the pandemic began, this number has nearly tripled.
The City of Fort Saskatchewan has partnered up with the Lifesaving Society, an organization aiming to inform people about safe water practices. Their Lifejacket Loaner Stations provide free-of-cost lifejackets for rent at swimming pools all across the country, with 42 locations available across Alberta and the Northwest Territories alone.
Harbour Pool is the latest addition to their Lifejacket Loaner Stations, with a station being in front of the pool from May 24 until Sept. 5.
Residents can borrow a lifejacket and use it as they please, whether boating on the river, swimming in the lake, or even at a home pool.
The lifejackets are available at the reception desk for pick-up and drop-off. There are multiple sizes available, and pool staff will even help with choosing the right size and properly putting it on.
"There are a lot of different ways to stay safe in the water," said Naomi Switzer, aquatic operations supervisor at Harbour Pool. "Wearing a PFD is a big one. Liken it to if you're in a car accident. You don't put your seatbelt on as you're getting into the accident."
Lifejackets, boat training, and proper equipment inspections are crucial to staying safe in the water.