'Don't swim alone': How to prevent drowning and other water safety tips


Posted at Apr 02 2023 10:24 AM

Visitors cool off from the summer heat along the Marikina River in Rodriguez, Rizal on May 21, 2018. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file
Visitors cool off from the summer heat along the Marikina River in Rodriguez, Rizal on May 21, 2018. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA — The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) on Sunday reminded the public to be more cautious when swimming to avoid drowning incidents as the dry season is in full swing.

In a statement, PRC Chairman and former Senator Richard Gordon especially cautioned children who are "at a higher risk" for drowning.

"The best thing anyone can do to stay safe in the water is to learn how to swim. The PRC offers swimming and water safety courses that are suitable for all ages," Gordon said.

He also said that swimming would be safer this dry season if people are well-informed and skilled about being in the water.

“Please do not swim alone, and be knowledgeable of the water environment and potential hazards such as currents and depth changes. Following basic water safety tips can keep you and your family safe whenever you are in the water,” PRC Secretary General Gwendolyn Pang also said.

The reminder also came as Filipinos prepare for their Holy Week break, which is slated to start on Maundy Thursday, April 6.

PRC also released some general safety guidelines for swimming in any body of water:

  • Always swim with a buddy; never swim alone.
  • Read and obey all rules and posted signs.
  • Swim in areas supervised by a lifeguard.
  • Children or inexperienced swimmers should take extra precautions, such as wearing approved life jackets when near bodies of water. Adults should keep an eye on children at all times.
  • Watch out for the "dangerous too's" — too tired, too cold, too far away from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity.
  • Be knowledgeable of the water environment and the potential hazards (deep and shallow areas, currents, depth changes, and obstructions) and know where the entry and exit points are located.
  • Know how to recognize, prevent, and respond to emergencies.
  • Use a feet-first entry when entering the water.
  • Enter headfirst only when the area is clearly marked for diving and has no obstructions.
  • Do not swim, dive, or drive a motorboat when intoxicated or drunk. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance, and coordination. It affects swimming and diving skills and reduces the body's ability to stay warm.

The group, citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), noted that the highest number of drowning-related deaths from 2006 to 2013 were recorded in the month of April.

In 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) said more than 3,000 people in the Philippines die from drowning every year, with children at a significantly increased risk.

"A study by Jonathan P. Guevara et. al. (2021), published online in the open-access research portal MDPI, found that in the Philippines, children are at a greater risk of accidental drowning compared to adults," the PRC statement also read.

In time for the dry season and the Holy Week break, Gordon assured that Red Cross 143 (RC143) volunteers of each PRC chapter in the country were "prepared to report and respond to drowning incidents in their coverage areas."

Millions of Filipinos are expected to head home to their home provinces for the Holy Week and spend their vacations there.

The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) earlier said it was expecting more than 2.2 million passengers in seaports nationwide between April 2 to 10.


Watch more News on iWantTFC