Men are overwhelmingly the victims of drowning worldwide. Knowledge, skill, habits and health conditions all come into play.
This month, former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowned off a boat in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It was in the early hours one Sunday morning that he passed tragically at the age of 35.
Emery’s death has been categorized as a case of “misadventure” by police, and it remains to be seen if any addition factors played into the tragedy of his final moments, but one thing is for certain: no one expects an adult, let alone an accomplished athlete, to drown in their leisure time.
Nonetheless, it happens. According to the World Health Organization, (WHO), drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional death worldwide. Reports indicate that over 350,000 people succumb to the waves each year, but numbers are actually probably much higher, with many cases going undocumented.
Who is it happening to? Astoundingly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), almost 80% of those who die drowning are male.
In the United States, African Americans die from fatal unintentional drownings at significantly higher rates than whites across all ages. (African American children aged 11-12 die at 10 times the rate of their white counterparts).
Experts say that not knowing how to swim, not wearing a life jacket, drinking alcohol while boating or swimming, and suffering from a seizure while in the water are all factors that lead to increased drownings.
To learn how to swim, click here.