After recent deaths on Sask. lakes, Lifesaving Society suggests ways to help if you're not trained in water rescue

The Lifesaving Society has a message for bystanders who see someone in distress in the water: don’t try to help if you don’t know what you’re doing.

“If you are untrained to provide a safe in water rescue of someone, stay on land and call for help or emergency services instead of putting yourself in danger as well,” the group said in a news release.

The province has seen recent drownings and near-drownings, some of which involved people trying to help those in trouble.

A 51-year-old woman and a 60-year-old man died after being in distress in the water Saturday on Turtle Lake, off the shore on Thunderchild First Nation, according to RCMP.

RCMP say the woman had been swimming and began to struggle and the man went in to help before struggling as well.

On July 1, a 36-year-old man from Central Butte died after jumping into Lake Diefenbaker to help swimming children who were in distress, RCMP say.

The Lifesaving Society instead suggests the three-step Ladder Approach.

  • Talk: From a dry, safe position, talk to the victim and encourage them to safety.
  • Throw: From a dry, safe location, throw a buoyant assist to the victim and talk them to safety.
  • Reach: From a dry, safe location, reach with an assist to the victim and pull them to safety.

“We encourage everyone to be prepared before heading out to the lake or the beach and bring items they can use as an assist to help someone who is distressed in the water. Items such as extra lifejackets, pool noodles, a simple empty jug on rope or a throw bag are all great assists people should be bringing every time they go out to enjoy water,” the society says.

The Lifesaving Society also recommends the following measures to stay safe around the water:

  • Wear a lifejacket or PFD during all boating activities.
  • Consider wearing a lifejacket or PFD if you are a weak or non-swimmer. Many people drown from walking off the drop off in lakes when they thought they were in fact in shallow water.
  • Supervise young children at all times when they are near or in the water. Always stay within arms’ reach of children six years of age and under.