Before taking a dip in the lake, Manitobans are being asked to dive into water safety.

The past weeks in Manitoba have seen four drownings, and several reported near-drownings. Dr. Christopher Love is the Water Smart and Safety Management Coordinator with the LifeSaving Society, an organization dedicated to preventing drownings. 

"One of the statistics that we see year after year is that males have a far larger number of drowning fatalities than females."

In 2020, 25 people downed in the province, with 78 per cent of those drownings being men. Love says this is likely because men are "risk takers" near the water. Most drownings in Manitoba occur between May to September in lakes, ponds, and rivers.

"Risk factors that we see pop up over and over again include things like people being under the influence of alcohol or drugs so they are not swimming or boating sober, not wearing a life jacket when appropriate... (and) not being aware of conditions."

The age-old "swim with a buddy" continues to ring true.

Before heading to the water, Love says having a safety plan is important.

"If you are planning a trip to the beach, our basic piece of advice is you need to think and plan ahead. Because if you think and make safety a part of your day from the start, it is much more likely to happen and therefore you are going to have a more enjoyable time at the beach."

He says to have those fond memories, packing supplies like lifejackets and boat safety kits will make a major impact on the day's results.

Love says not to go into the water alone, noting that children younger than seven years old need an adult within arm's reach at all times. All children will need to be supervised, asking parents to assure there are enough adults watching the children.

"Choose to go somewhere that is supervised, a place that has lifeguards or beach safety officers on the provincial park beaches, because that adds a layer of protection."

Weather also can be a risk factor, as it can quickly change on lakes.

National Drowning Prevention Week is from July 18-24.